Nature: Fertile Learning Ground
One of the defining traits of the Waldorf system of teaching is that it looks beyond test-based marks as a measure of education. Children are taught through trans-disciplinary ways that bring together their cognitive, creative and social skills to develop multiple skills. Most importantly, the ultimate aim is to inspire a lifelong love of learning and the deep desire to contribute positively to the world around us.
Learning in nature is an essential element for such learning. No matter how many advanced technological developments our world may see, time spent in natural surrounds – in the form of unstructured play or planned activity – bring with it a host of benefits. Several studies have come shown that time spent outdoors helps in bringing about better health, improved learning, better cognitive functioning and psychological well-being for students of all ages. The immediate signs of positive impact are seen as reduced stress levels, better social cooperation, better focus and creative problem-solving skills.
Being in and around nature on a regular basis also proves to be beneficial in terms of learning scientific concepts literally “on the ground”. This reinforces knowledge in a stronger way than through reading and seeing images on a page. Students get to see the lifecycle of plants and organisms (among others), which proves to be an excellent means of explaining the interconnectedness of all life processes.
When students are given the chance to participate in activities such as gardening, they become much more sensitive to the natural environment and begin to imbibe sustainable behavioural practices at a young age. They also respect and appreciate the need for green spaces, and the eco-systems that thrive within. All of this will help create a generation of eco-conscious global citizens who will approach all that they do with the welfare of the world in mind. They, we believe, will prove to be the agents of change who will help resolve issues like climate change and decline of natural resources – and help revive our planet.