When we talk about a child’s future, we plan the upbringing, education and the learning requirements. Developmental learning is when you inculcate processes that will help the child grow in the course of getting the education. It is not the traditional form of primary or secondary education but a different approach altogether.
Nature-based learning is a development in the customary educational upbringing of the child. The primary education imparted to children plays the most significant role in their growth. So, there have been various changes in the system to inculcate nature in the developmental learning of the child.
What is Nature-based Learning?
Nature-based learning is a new approach to education, different from the conventional ones. This schooling inculcates nature in their educational processes. The natural approach to learning can be inculcated indoor as well as outdoor.
In outdoor, the children are schooled in nature’s setup. In the indoor process, there can be an artificial approach to involve the natural elements, a simulation of the environmental setting. The plants, sand and a natural garden setting where the child is taught to adopt playing inaccessible natural educational requirements. Playing and growing around nature facilitates formal and informal knowledge to harmonious living.
Nurturing of a Child’s Brain
With all the developments in technology and the increasing accessibility as well as a visible presence in the nook and corner of every household, it is very difficult and almost impossible for a child to understand nature and its elements. The existential visibility has shrunk to such an extent that children fail to identify natural objects, plants and animals. The child’s brain is no child’s-play, it needs nurturing and a broader picture to view and to relate the life of beings other than humans. The animal on page 17 is a lion but a real one in the zoological park will have a permanent imprint on the child’s grasp of the existence of such species in the same world they live in.
Children would easily recognize Elsa and Olaf if they appear magically right in front, but they will not be able to apprehend the gardening tool for manuring the plants growing outside. A-for-ant will have a deeper-rooted image when the child sees the same ant lifting a s-for-stone and carrying it to its h-for-home.
The iPhone and iPad, smart TVs and Alexas have constricted the movement in urban living; so, imagine the difficulty in expanding the mere possibility of space for the child who has blended in the lifestyle choices that we’ve made. The urban lifestyle is what they’ve been living in since birth and when it’s time for them to expand their horizons, get out of the comfort of home, and into schools, the same four-walled existence will limit the elasticity of knowledge imbibition. Because there will be difficulty in identifying the objects and the insight of understanding will lack. Talking tom is monotonously fun with the talking but without the lead-batteries, the child has no idea how to play with the tom that is left.
Children associate several objects with their textures. The plastic fish toy or the funskool dough to carve a cat or rabbit will make them understand plastics and doughs and not a fish, cat or rabbit. The child needs to be taken outside to the garden to see what a real rabbit or a cat is, a pond where the fish lives. The sensory feeling of textures and movement from activities by these animals brings theory and pictures on paper to life. And this is what nature-based learning will provide for.
With the busy stick-to-the-clock scheduled life of parents, the child’s interaction is limited to fewer people around them. But, when in school, they connect with their fellow mates. The interactions among them, their conversations, or activities should not be confined to the four walls they already were the night before. With all safety precautions to handle children outdoors, the educators now open a horizon of space for the child to be alive. They get to understand plant and pebbles, the sky and the sand. Parents can be a part of educational workshops and activities to understand their child’s development.
Discovering advances different from the conventional methodologies, building the curiosity, connecting with nature and resulting educational outcomes is what preschools like Elements Nature-Based Preschool with this learning concept believe in. We should ensure that this learning is fruitful and one that will make their brain function to process objects that are being taught with real-life ones, where they can associate things with life, they live not only in the school premises. The spontaneity involved in outdoor or nature-based learning will help them grow to understand and handle responses. The classroom concept is brought alive using natural tools, advancing learning to achieve desired educational outcomes.
Salman is a prolific environmental writer, and has authored more than 500 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management, sustainability and conservation all over the world.
Salman can be reached on email@example.com