Early years play provides a crucial base for the development of skills in later life, and engagement with nature continues to yield benefits throughout a child’s education
- Initiatives in the US have shown that combining programs of outdoor activity with school education increases student motivation and willingness to learn, increases critical thinking skills, curbs the effects of ADHD, and leads to higher test scores.
- The mental benefits fostered by engagement with natural environments and outdoor play contributes to the continuing development of skills crucial to higher-order thinking, including creativity, problem-solving and self-discipline.
- Children who play outdoors and in groups often have a head-start in social situations, and may reap the benefits of stronger personal and emotional awareness, abilities to communicate, form bonds and self assert, and to foster co-operation and team work.
- Self-aware children are more likely to develop a balanced and priority-driven outlook on life, as well as firm sense of their values, goals and purpose.
- All of these skills can contribute to the development of desirable professional skills in later education, and an attractive prospect for employers.
Note: Information presented here is based on research findings, reports and literature views from leading UK and US charities and education organizations. You can access these reports at Play England and the Children & Nature Network.