Why It’s Beneficial to Let Your Kids Be Exposed to Nature?

Why It’s Beneficial to Let Your Kids Be Exposed to Nature?

May 22, 2020

By Jacinta Netawat

What is nature?

Nature is defined as the natural Earth and the things on it. The trees, forests, birds and animals are all part of nature.

How can we explain about nature to kids?

First of all, we have to understand what nature means to us and then we have to explain it to the kids. We have to tell children that whatever we see above us (such as the sun, the moon and the sky) and everything on earth (such as mountains, trees, rivers and all kinds of plants and animals) altogether form nature.

We should explain to them that the different parts of nature depend on each other and that humans play an important role in loving, saving and protecting nature. Our very survival is totally dependent on nature. For this trees and plants are very essential. We breathe out carbon dioxide which the plants take in and, in return, they give out oxygen which we breathe in. Thus we keep a balance in nature.

Why is nature important for kids?

An exposure to nature is shown to improve a child’s academic abilities and personal development. In fact, research studies show that nature increases youth creativity, reduces stress, and helps kids who suffer from attention-deficit disorder. Children who play and spend time in nature have increased concentration and cognitive skills.

In order to make children understand nature closely, they need to go and experience it. They should be taken on trips to beautiful sights, forests and reserves. It could even be letting them venture out into the garden. 

Why do schools and parents play an important role in teaching children about nature? 

Biology, the study of living organisms and things, is an important strand in Science. Students will learn about how to identify and classify living things, the parts of plants and their functions, what living things need to survive, etc. While it is important that children know the factual concepts of these topics, research shows that children tend to understand these topics better by working with nature itself. For example, a child can learn what conditions a seed needs to grow by actually trying to grow seeds under different conditions than reading about it in a book. 

There has also been a growing rise in the number of schools that have their own gardens and/or offer a gardening CCA throughout the world. Children are asked to plant trees and plants and take care of them. In addition, they are learning gardening skills that they may use as they grow older (at home, as a hobby or in their future occupation). 

With an ever-growing number of nature documentaries, TV programmes and movies, your child is able to see and observe the different aspects of nature rather than be told about it.  

The wonders of modern technology have also benefited those people who may not be blessed with wonderful nature nearby them. Although an actual trip to nature areas can be difficult for some, there are an increasing number of apps or websites available to allow us to take virtual tours of these areas or to watch nature in action.  

How can we prepare children to protect and save nature in today’s world?

Not only do children need to be educated on the different types of nature, they also need to know about their role as a global citizen in protecting it. They should understand how different actions, mostly carried out by humans, have a negative effect on our environment. Some examples are exploiting mountains, destroying forests, contaminating and polluting the environment.

Through our PSHE and IPC lessons, we look at themes that are important for our students to know about – saving the rainforests, habitats, endangered animals, global warming, etc. It is important that children understand from a young age the effects of these problems and what they can do to prevent them, as we hold a responsibility to future generations to care, save and protect the planet. Failure to do so will stop them from seeing the marvellous beauty of nature that is available and the potential extinction to the plant and animal kingdoms in the future. 

Jacinta Netawat is the Head of Curriculum and Year 5 class teacher at Matrix International Primary School. She is from Indian and has 15 years of teaching experience in India and Malaysia. She is well versed in the Cambridge curriculum, International Baccalaureate (Primary Years Programme – PYP), International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and have Master of Arts in Education (MA in Education), Bachelor in Education (B.Ed)