Raising Nature Smart Children: Outdoor Classroom Learning

No child left inside” — Pacific Domes

Nurturing Naturalistic Intelligence in the Outdoor Classroom

It goes without saying that every parent wishes the best for their children. Did you know that being Nature Smart – the naturalist intelligence, is recognized by educators as the 8th intelligence? And, that as our most ancient intelligence, raising Nature Smart children may provide us with the best chance for a sustainable future?

In a Nature Smart outdoor classroom children immerse themselves in the vastness of the natural world. The best news is that in an outdoor learning environment kids, who have been unengaged and struggling within the confines of a walled indoor-classroom, regain their energy and strengthen their natural abilities by observing and learning from Nature – thereby, unlocking their true potential nature.  

Unlocking a Child’s Potential: Fostering a Child’s Naturalist Intelligence

Ids Coyote Trails Outdoor School

Outdoor Learning Spacescan anyone think of a better way to nurture a child’s instinctive curiosity than in an outdoor classroom Learning Garden?

Children are born naturalists and when encouraged to follow their instincts, they are eager to explore their natural world through outdoor play and education. Prior to the digital-age, you could ask a young child if they’d rather learn in an indoor or outdoor classroom and you’d most certainly get a unanimous response in favor of the latter!

Coyote Trails

Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.” — RICHARD LOUV, Author and Co-founder, C&NN

In today’s world of the virtual learning classroom, the challenge of fostering a child’s innate naturalist intelligence has become a clarion call to turn learning inside out through nature-based education – adopting a radical “no child left inside” policy in order to rebalance inadequacies of a digital-age trend!

Children spend much of their time in schoolyards – so, isn’t it time to green them up? According to a recent article by Richard Louv, it’s a fresh-air solution that makes sense during these times of Covid-related confusion where school policies seem to be in a constant state of flux.

NASA S.T.E.M. Community Programs

Many educators and parents feel that the way forward is through science and technology. As we begin to explore life outside our home planet, why not combine the best of the natural world with S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math) deep learning outdoor schools and community programs?

This merging of two worlds solution might be considered timely because of the emphasis on S.T.E.M. learning. John Falk and Lynn Dierking in their book “The 95 Percent Solution” write – “Average Americans spend less than 5 percent of their life in classrooms, and an ever-growing body of evidence demonstrates that most science is learned outside of school”. Their “solution” for science education involves learning in outdoor arenas; such as, nature centers, parks, zoos and museums. “The sheer quantity and importance of this science-learning landscape lies in plain sight but mostly out of mind,” say Falk and Dierking.

In Summary

The outdoor classroom encourages kids of all ages to explore, imagine, try new things, and spend time instigating their own activities. Rebuilding resilient communities around outdoor nature-based classrooms will shift our children into a positive timeline – into a sustainable nature-enhanced future.

A basic concept of the Nature Smart education dome is to strengthen  and support a child’s innate curiosity to learn about their environment, whether, alone or among peers. Portable geodesic dome shelters are currently being used as outdoor classrooms in locations around the world. Providing a comfortable outdoor setting, while maintaining an intimate connection with Nature, the dome learning environment affords students practical hands-on experience in deepening their appreciation and inter-connectedness with the natural world.

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