At Tiny Trees Preschool children learn academic, emotional and social skills in a nature rich environment. By the time a child graduates from Tiny Trees at the age of 5 they will have spent the majority of their waking lives immersed in the natural world. Some of the developmental benefits of a nature rich classroom are:
Supports creativity, problem solving and cooperation: Studies of children in schoolyards found that children engage in more creative forms of play in the green areas. They also played more cooperatively (Bell and Dyment, 2006). Play in nature is especially important for developing capacities for creativity, problem-solving, and intellectual development (Kellert, 2005).
Improves academic performance: Studies in the US show that schools that use outdoor classrooms and other forms of nature-based experiential education support significant student gains in social studies, science, language arts, and math. Students in outdoor science programs improved their science testing scores by 27% (American Institutes for Research, 2005).
Enhances cognitive abilities: Proximity to, views of, and daily exposure to natural settings increases children’s ability to focus and enhances cognitive abilities (Wells, 2000).
Reduces Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms: Contact with the natural world can significantly reduce symptoms of attention deficit disorder in children as young as five years old (Kuo and Taylor, 2004).
Increases physical activity: Children who experience school grounds with diverse natural settings are more physically active, more aware of nutrition, more civil to one another and more creative (Bell and Dyment, 2006).
Improves eyesight: More time spent outdoors is related to reduced rates of nearsightedness, also known as myopia, in children and adolescents (American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2011).
Improves social skills: Children will be smarter, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier when they have regular opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-of-doors (Burdette and Whitaker, 2005).
Improves impulse control and self-discipline: Access to green spaces, and even a view of green settings, enhances peace, self-control and impulse control within inner city youth, and particularly in girls (Taylor, Kuo and Sullivan, 2001).
Reduces stress: Green plants and vistas reduce stress among highly stressed children. Locations with greater number of plants, greener views, and access to natural play areas show more significant results (Wells and Evans, 2003).