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  • Writer's pictureKirsten Jennings

Nature's Classroom: Cultivating Curiosity, Creativity and Character at Astor International School

In today's fast-paced world, where kids are constantly surrounded by screens and gadgets, it's easy to forget the importance of connecting with nature. However, learning from the natural world can have a profound impact on a child's development and can instill a deep appreciation for the environment. At Astor International School we pay special attention to spending time outside during daily morning breaks, frequent field trips and other outdoor activities. 



One of the great things about learning from nature is that it provides hands-on experiences. Whether it's gardening, hiking, or simply exploring, these outdoor activities allow children to physically interact with their surroundings. This kind of experiential learning helps them develop important skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Nature also offers a sensory feast for children. The sights, sounds, smells, and textures found outdoors create a rich sensory environment that sparks curiosity and creativity. For example, watching birds build their nests or feeling the rough bark of a tree can ignite a child's imagination and inspire them to ask questions and seek knowledge.


Astor students sitting around camp fire and learning outside the classroom

One of the most significant benefits of children learning from nature is the development of their cognitive abilities. Being outdoors exposes children to varying stimuli that stimulate their brains and enhance their critical thinking skills. Whether it's observing the intricate patterns on a leaf, identifying different species of birds, or examining the geological formations of rocks, these experiences nurture their analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities.


Moreover, nature is an ideal environment for children to develop their creativity and imagination. It serves as a blank canvas on which they can construct their own stories, invent games, and build imaginative worlds.  Alongside cognitive growth, outdoor education also plays a pivotal role in the emotional and social development of children. Nature provides a space for self-discovery, allowing children to build a sense of self-confidence and resilience.


Astor students playing in the mud and learning outside the classroom

Nature fosters cooperative learning and promotes empathy and communication skills. When children engage in group activities, such as building a shelter or solving a problem together, they learn to collaborate, negotiate, and empathize with their peers. Nature teaches them the value of teamwork and the importance of respecting and appreciating others' perspectives.


Furthermore, spending time in nature has been proven to have positive effects on a child's physical and mental well-being. Outdoor activities promote physical fitness and a healthier lifestyle. Exposure to natural light and fresh air can also improve mood, reduce stress, and enhance concentration, ultimately benefiting a child's overall psychological and emotional development. Another advantage of learning from nature is the opportunity to develop a sense of environmental stewardship. When children explore the outdoors, they gain first hand experience with different ecosystems and learn about the delicate balance of nature. This knowledge fosters a sense of responsibility and encourages children to become advocates for the environment, promoting sustainability and conservation. By incorporating nature-based learning into Astor curriculum, we can provide a refreshing break from traditional classroom settings and engage children in a whole new way.


During outdoor activities there are opportunities for cooperative learning and promoting empathy and better communication skills. When children engage in group activities, such as building a shelter or solving a problem together, they learn to collaborate, negotiate, and empathize with their peers. Nature teaches them the value of teamwork and the importance of respecting and appreciating others' perspectives.


Integrating outdoor education into the learning experience of children offers countless benefits. By immersing themselves in the natural world, children enhance their cognitive abilities, foster their creativity, and develop vital social and emotional skills. On top of that, outdoor education contributes to their physical health, providing a holistic approach to their overall well-being. As educators and parents, let us embrace the power of nature and create opportunities for children to learn, explore, and grow from the wonders that surround us.


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