The Nature-Smart Renovation Project
Your Gift Can Help Us Revolutionize EducationDid you know that kids today spend over 50 hours a week on a device and over 90% of their time indoors, on average? These frightening habits can lead to decreased attention spans, an inability to focus, obesity, and numerous other issues. Here at Woodfield, we want to effect change in this trend by providing a nature-smart education. The concept behind nature-smart is to provide students the opportunity to learn and experience tangibly through nature rather than simply using textbooks and chalkboards.
In order to offer this revolutionary type of education, we need your help!
Our campus is made up of 4.87 acres of land, which we need to renovate and transform into an outdoor learning space. We have already seen the benefit of including nature and the outdoors in our educational methods. Through this renovation project, however, we can maximize the nature-smart method and allow our students to truly reap the benefits this type of education provides.
Benefits of a Nature-Smart Education
There are numerous benefits to a nature-smart education that are often lost in traditional school settings. Studies have been conducted showing all of the positive ways children are impacted when their education includes time in green, natural schoolyards. Nature-smart methods benefit children…
Educationally: Children who spend time in nature have been proven to perform better in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. They show stronger critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as enhanced creativity. The opportunity to explore and discover outdoors increases enthusiasm and interest in learning.
Mentally: Schools with a forest element or outdoor class time can boost positive emotions while decreasing negative emotions. They have also been shown to reduce aggression, stress, and disciplinary issues. The ability to see and interact with nature can also increase feelings of resilience and confidence.
Socially: Along with the positive emotions that stem from a nature-smart education, children also develop stronger relationship skills. Cooperative play and behavior thrives in the natural setting where children can be more active and imaginative than in a traditional schoolyard.
Physically: By spending time in the sun, children’s vitamin D levels are increased and studies have even shown a reduction in nearsightedness. Nature-smart methods encourage physical activity while reducing the risk of obesity and the development of sedentary habits.
The Woodfield faculty and parents have had the pleasure of witnessing these incredible benefits that nature-smart methods have given our students. With your assistance, we can maximize the natural resources of our campus and, as a result, provide an even greater education to our students.
Renovation Project Details
This project is a large, phased outdoor renovation to transform our 4.87 acres of land into usable learning spaces. The plan is for three phases with the goal of having it completed within three years. The renovation project is not about constructing new buildings – we want to use what we have to create outdoor learning environments. The benefits of a nature-smart education are clear and have been proven to work. Our campus has the natural resources to maximize this method.
The project will include numerous areas on our property for students to use, learn, and enjoy, including:
Outdoor Study Halls
Tree Table Classroom
With this project, our goal is to increase our ability to interact and instruct our students by utilizing our beautiful campus as an outdoor classroom. However, we also want to open this environment to share with partners and members of the community.
While traditional education is important and necessary, the ability to go outside and learn about something firsthand rather than simply from a textbook truly benefits the students. This is the idea behind nature-smart – when a plant, animal, or any other aspect of nature is tangible and observable, learning about it becomes a far more engaging form of education.
Our student-teacher ratio allows us to provide this unique learning experience. Teachers are able to work more closely with students and help them develop a more in-depth understanding of the natural world and the way it works. We have found that when students are not solely confined to a classroom, but instead are given the opportunity to go out and make connections with the plants and animals they have learned about, their ability to learn and understand is greatly enhanced.
If you would like to learn more about the Nature Smart philosophy and why we believe in it, check out the following: