February 25th

Teacher and kids school learning ecology gardening

Planning time for outdoor learning could be an inexpensive way for schools to improve the psychological well-being of their students. That’s the conclusion from a study of over 400 children from 11 different schools in the UK.

For the research, children completed well-being and “connectedness to nature” assessments at the beginning and end of the school year. The children who participated in an outdoor learning program also completed mood assessments before and after each one-hour class held outside.

At the beginning of the year, these assessments showed no difference in the mental health and connectedness to nature scores for the outdoor learning group compared to the control group. However, mood assessment results showed improved mood after each session. By the end of the year, the children who participated in outdoor learning reported significantly higher well-being than children who didn’t take the outdoor learning class.

For both groups, connection to nature results only improved for children whose scores were initially lower. However, the children in the outdoor learning group that did demonstrate an improvement in connectedness to nature also demonstrated greater improvement in well-being.

This is just the latest study that proves the connection between being an “outsider” and improved mental health and well-being. To learn more about the benefits of becoming a steward for our living landscapes, go to TurfMutt.com.