The following information comes from Nature Explore Resources, direct observations from their Nature Explore Classrooms. The Nature Explore Classroom Certification Program is a national initiative that recognizes schools and other organizations that have made a commitment to providing outdoor classrooms and comprehensive programming to help children use the natural world as an integral part of learning. You can nurture these same skills in your backyard!
Regular contact with nature allows children to develop observation skills such as noticing details, finding patterns, and recognizing shapes. These skills are foundational for later math, science and literacy learning.
Science skills are a natural fit with outdoor classrooms. Skills include: observation, classifying objects into groups with common characteristics, predicting, experimenting, and drawing conclusions. Children also experience and learn about natural cycles, seasons, the environment, and how things live and grow.
Outdoor experiences allows children to incorporate math skills like counting, measuring, predicting, estimating through activities that ask how many pine cones can fit in a particular space or how many sticks it takes to build a fort. As children explore measurement concepts such as length, area, perimeter and volume, they are laying the groundwork for higher math skills such as geometry.
Visual-spatial skills give people the ability to negotiate well in space: follow maps, design and engineer buildings, park a car. These skills are developed as children climb, build, create, and look at their world from multiple perspectives.
Children surrounded by the beauty and wonder of nature are inspired to learn new words to talk and write about their experiences. This can be especially true for those children who struggle with traditional methods of teaching reading and writing.
Music & movement
Children learn about and experience sound, pitch, rhythm and tonality through using a variety of musical instruments made from natural plant materials, and from the sounds of nature surrounding them.
Items found in nature encourage children to create three-dimensional works of art. Using items found in nature provides a very creative and expressive experience for children.
Natural classrooms and experiences offer endless open-ended opportunities for discovery. Children who are engaged and active are far more likely to exhibit positive behaviors and build stronger social skills. Children learn to share ideas, negotiate to meet needs, make decisions, decide on tasks, and problem solve together for a successful ‘community’.