Bringing Science lessons beyond the walls and its benefits
What is Science?
If you do a google search, you will find the answer as stated:”the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”
It sounds pretty complex. Even more so when you are a parent and when you have a child having the additional subject by the name of Science. Even for some children, they hate the idea of having Science as a new friend in school. How do we encourage kids to love Science and how do we teach or guide them along? In order not to scare the child out when Science is being introduced into the curriculum, it will be good having your child exposed to Science at a young age. Check out the article “How to expose your child to Science” on how to introduce Science to the little one.
Science is everywhere around us. Children are curious by nature. The moment they learn to speak (I know I am a little exaggerated here) and most, if not all, of their questions, are related to Science.
Where do I come from?
How does this machine work?
How does the airplane fly?
Why are the leaves rusty?
To allow the children to get more exposure and exploration, learning outdoors will be the way to go. Why outdoors? Here are the benefits:
Improves well-being and engages them in learning
Children by nature are curious. They love to move. They need space. They love to learn. In fact, we are the one who enclosed them within the 4 walls that indirectly kill their interest in learning. Research (refer to Busting the myths on outdoor learning in schools) has been done in the UK where students learn better and engaged better when learning is done outdoors. Lessons are more enjoyable too.
Check out how smarties enjoy the learning of the mini stream found at the MacRitchie Nature Trail. They got to touch and feel the water. We also saw a pond with stagnated water and we took the chance to explain the differences between stagnant and moving water.
Boost their confidence and increased self-reliance
Outdoor learning is more unstructured than classroom learning. As a result, children get to learn more independently without restriction. Giving children the freedom to make their own decisions, to explore their own learning is extremely empowering for them. Of course, parents need to give them the authority and place your trust in your children to lead. Is very easy to give up whenever we see challenges ahead and we do not want our children to behave in that way.
Gor gor reading all the info boards available along the trail and learning along the way. When there were doubts or want to get more information, we go to Google for more answers. We always remind him not to give up if he doesn’t know the answer to something. Whenever there is a problem, there will always be a solution. We just need to work a little harder to find it.
Learning outdoor allows our children to understand that learning can occur anywhere, anytime. Most importantly be positive and seek out new challenges than to stop learning. Confidence and resilience go hand in hand. Therefore it will be good if parents provide the children to take risks where appropriate and to discover and learn along the way.
While hiking along the trail, we found many monkeys along the way and we almost got attacked by them as we were holding water bottles. Smarties were quick to hold up their stick for self-defense and the monkeys didn’t dare come near us. No, they didn’t attack the monkeys but it was good in a way they know when and how to react during dangerous times such as this.
Boost their memory
Outdoor learning improves memory because children get to experience the new and unfamiliar on their own. They get to see, touch, feel, smell, sometimes even taste. As all their senses are being stimulated, the information is being locked into the brain. This experience allows the release of a chemical called dopamine into the hippocampus (a small organ located within the brain) where the memories are created. The best learning is hands-on learning, isn’t it?
Smarties were learning about mushrooms during our Science lesson at home. Now that we have spotted so many different types of mushrooms, they were better at relating to those found in the books. Such as what kind of environment they grow in and their colours.
Outdoor learning is not just about Science, it is about the general well-being of the children as well. Getting children outside benefits them not only physically, but also allows the brain to recharge which, should produce greater results academically, socially and cognitively. Children tend to be more attentive when they are learning outdoors.
It is not just all about your children, it is for the parents too. Outdoor is a much more of a relaxing place than malls and schools. It is a great place where family and friends bond, explore and learn about each other as well. As a result, you will feel calmer, less stressed and better rested.
“To deny children the opportunity to reap the many benefits of regular, vigorous, physical activity is to deny them the opportunity to experience the joy of efficient movement, the health effects of movement, and a lifetime as confident, competent movers.” — Henninger, M.L. (2009). So head out and start learning!