Play is a right not a privilege.
Learning By Nature is founded on the premise that engaging outdoor play is a right not a privilege; a necessary whole body experience for all ages and abilities that positively influences our physical, mental, social development and health. Play shapes who we are and how we interact with the world and each other.
Natural play engages multiple learning modalities and cognitive intelligences. In turn, as people play freely outdoors, they develop invaluable connections with nature and place. On many levels, a better understanding and sense of self, others and the natural world emerges. We call this placemaking. We also know that making music is beneficial for children, families, and communities alike. Put these ingredients together – playing music together outdoors – and a symphony of social and emotional growth blossoms!
Benefits of playing music together in nature include:
- A growing body of research confirms that experiencing music in nature positively engages the brain, builds social cohesion, and creates the conditions to build harmonious communities.
- Singing, playing instruments, or merely listening to music releases neurotransmitters in the brain which facilitate our ability to bond with one another and experience pleasure.
- Nature restores mental functioning in the brain the same way that water and food fuel our bodies.
- Experiencing music with others generates oxytocin, which is what enables us to feel a sense of belonging.
- Outdoor music spaces engage people of all ages, races, and musical ability to experience and share their creative expressions of tones, rhythms, and melodies.
- Experiencing music in outdoor settings promotes community engagement and greater individual happiness as it relaxes, soothes, and feeds the soul.
- The collective enjoyment of music builds a sense of social cohesion and creates a shared human experience.
As people play outdoors, they develop on many levels, a better understanding and sense of self.
People learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways.
Play is learning.
People play (and learn), naturally. Our educational and design philosophy stands on two pillars.
- Learning should incorporate a well grounded understanding that every living-being depends on each other and a shared planet to survive.
- People learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways. Engaging our brain in multiple learning styles enhances memory and strengthens connection.
A natural playspace and outdoor classroom offer engaging, diverse, safe, and playful learning landscapes for all interests, ages, abilities and communities. Unlike commercial play sets, Natural Playspaces change throughout the day and throughout the seasons, fostering continued intrigue and curiosity.
Research shows when children learn and have unstructured time to explore in an outdoor environment they …
- Engage, exhibit a stronger motivation toward learning and improve academic performance.
- Practice cooperative and collaborative behaviors as well as greater self confidence.
- Exhibit reduced attention deficit behaviors, anxiety and depression.
- Develop a sense of personal ownership, understanding and respect for place- their local environment and community.
- New curriculum connections.
- Increased morale, engagement and enthusiasm for teaching and learning.
- Fewer discipline and classroom management problems.
- Better attendance.
- Increased school pride.
- Decrease in bullying and conflict on school grounds.
- Active involvement for parents and the greater community.
- Expand their knowledge, skills and creativity in ways that add value to their everyday experiences in the classroom.
Benefits of using the outdoors as a classroom for teachers, schools and community include:
“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.”