What is nature-based learning
Nature-based learning is a child-centred education process in which kids regularly play and learn in the context of nature.
Dr Claire Warden explains how nature-based learning actually works, and why the great outdoors is great for kids' education.
Benefits of nature-based learning
Kids always have the best teacher - nature
Nature-based learning enables children to play, explore and discover in the outdoors on a regular basis. Fresh air, lots of space, and surroundings that change daily is fascinating for kids. High interest leads to high attention, which is where the learning comes in.
Education outdoors also comes with a bonus - kids that have a strong relationship with the natural world will have a lifelong interest in looking after it.
Inspiration and motivation
Children have almost a limitless capacity for imagination, especially when they play and explore outside. A stick found on a trail becomes a magical wand. A handful of yellow rocks plucked from a brook morphs into gold coins.
Tapping into these moments of inspired play in all kinds of places creates the space for the process of learning that is as important as the outcome of learning.
Confidence and connection
Nature-based learning enables children to grow their confidence as a result of the freedom, time and space they're given. Through experiential learning; outdoor exploration; and safe, supported risk-taking, kids build independence at their own pace. As they do, parents and carers often observe how children proudly run home to share the day's experiences with friends and family.
Kids in nature-based learning environments develop their multiple facets at the same time, as they understand that they're an important part of the larger world around them.
Children develop mentally and physically; they build spatial and emotional intelligence; they develop their imaginations; and they learn compassion and empathy for other people, animals and for their environment.