Learning and Nature’s Art

December 13, 2010

Educational Benefits of Working with Nature: A Summary of Research Findings

Research Supporting Nature Based Classroom Art

1. Encouraging children’s sense of wonder with nature influences positively on their capacity to learn in all subject areas. It is vital for classrooms to include nature, as a means of stimulating learning. (Richard Louv, Author)

2. Nature enhances children’s skills in the following areas –

Problem Solving, Teamwork, Experimentation, Decision-Making, Adaptability, Confidence, Enhanced Communication, Sensory Development, Intellectual Stimulation (Carol Duffy, Childhood Specialist, Ireland)

3. Recent research proposes that exposure to the outdoors reduces anxiety, and enhances learning. (Dr. Dorothy Matthews, American Society for Microbiology)

4. “A den (made from natural materials) is the child’s sense of self being born, a chance to create a home away from home that becomes a manifestation of who they are. The den is the chrysalis out of which the butterfly is born.” (David Sobel, Antioch New England Graduate School)

5. “By bolstering children’s attention resources, green spaces may enable children to think more clearly and cope more effectively with life stress”. Engagement with natural settings has been linked to a child’s ability to focus, and enhances cognitive abilities. Nearby nature is a buffer for anxiety and adversity in children. (Dr Nancy Wells, Cornell University, New York)

6. The outdoor environment enhances the understanding of social relationships, language, physical movement, reasoning, curiosity, and the capacity to imagine possibilities. (Jane Williams-Siegfredsen, Viborg University College, Denmark)

7. Fostering children’s identity to include personal and social relationships to nature, improves their empathy and sense of inter-connection with the world-at-large. (Anita Barrows, Clinical Psychologist, Berkeley, California)

8. Nature based art can reach sensory, emotional, cognitive, symbolic and creative levels of human experience be de-familiarisation. Taken for granted everyday things, are sensitively given new meaning and enhance a child’s capacity to perceive. (Jan van Boeckel, Research Fellow Aalto University Helsinki, Anthropologist, Filmmaker)



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