She begins: "When starting out as a teacher, I heard Joseph Cornell say that keeping children inside one room five days a week is akin to breaking a horse. I’m haunted by that analogy. Our tendency is to keep children in, especially as academic demands only increase. And for discipline or missed work what do we do? Keep them in at recess. Breaking horses."
Kelly shares two anecdotes from her students' experiences with the natural world, which highlight the power of nature to spark critical thinking, creativity, reverence, and respect (all part of the 4 elements of humane education), as well as to fulfill academic requirements.
"Through contact with a natural setting during the school day, the children in 4th-6th grade found imagination and adventure, critical thinking and curiosity, respite and relaxation, peace and calm, and ownership and identity.Read the complete post.
The outdoor classroom developed the students’ sense of belonging to the school and to the natural world. The contact these children had with nature was also in a place where the children felt safe to explore at a distance from the teachers that felt safe. In some cases, it was the children’s the first contact with nature in a exploratory way."
Regular exposure to the natural world is essential for all of us to thrive and to help us fall in love with (and want to protect) the environment that sustains us all. Even if we work in a dank cubicle or teach in an uber-urban setting, there are ways to bring the natural world inside. Studies show that even looking at an image of nature is better than nothing.
Like our blog? Please share it with others, comment, and/or subscribe to our RSS feed.