Sunday, December 29, 2013

Environmental education and outdoor play

Experience outside the school has its geographical aspect, its artistic and its literary, its scientific and its historical sides.  All studies arise from aspects of the one earth and the one life lived upon it - John Dewey 

Today I've been reading over theories of education and how they support more environmental education and outdoor play.  In recent years Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard University has added naturalist intelligence to his list of multiple intelligences.  I've also been reading about education in Finland which has a much greater emphasis on play.  Finnish students don't start school until the age of seven and Finland spends less per student on education than many developed countries, yet students in Finland do better in international comparisons in literacy, math and science.  Interestingly enough I was reading that students get an outdoor play session of 15 minutes after every 45 minute lesson and there is an emphasis on environment-based education and a large amount of experience in natural settings or the surrounding community.  Of course there may be many factors involved in why students in Finland do well on international tests, but quite possibly environmental education and outdoor play may be some of them.

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Compfight cc

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