Biologist John Lubbock once wrote, “Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountains and sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.” At Little Angels Preschool & Daycare in Ypsilanti we focus on growing the WHOLE child, not just academically, but also their character and well-being. Studies have shown that being outdoors is great for your child’s intelligence and their character, as well as their physical and mental health. Little Angels is dedicated to spending much of your child’s day exploring nature. We feel that it’s the best and most effective way for children to learn and grow.
For Your Child’s Intelligence
The outdoors is richer in sensory experiences than indoor environments. Very young children learn predominately through their sensory and physical experiences, which supports brain development. Children who have nature experiences demonstrate more advanced cognitive development by improving awareness, reasoning, and observational skills. Even tree climbing requires a very broad spectrum of brain activity!
Children who spend time outside have longer attention spans than those who spend time in front of screens, and children with ADHD focus better after being outdoors. Memory performance also improves by 20% after spending an hour outside.
Academically, schools with environmental education programs have students that score higher in reading, math, writing, and science, in standardized testing.
For Your Child’s Character
Natural, irregular, and challenging spaces help kids learn to recognize, assess, and negotiate risk. This builds confidence, competence, self-esteem, autonomy, and independence. When playing in diverse, natural environments, children use more imaginative and creative play. This fosters language and collaborative skills and eliminates anti-social behaviors, such as violence, bullying, vandalism, and littering.
For Your Child’s Physical Health
The sun’s rays give off essential Vitamin D. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption, reduces inflammation, prevents some types of cancer, and reduces the effects of autoimmune diseases. The sun also acts as a natural antiseptic, which kills mold, yeast, bacteria, fungi, and viruses-even ones that are living on the skin.
Studies have shown that playing in the dirt, and ingesting a little along the way, helps children build stronger immune systems. Exposure to parasites, bacteria, and viruses at an early age decrease the chance of having allergies and asthma
Additionally, viruses and bacteria thrive in air-tight spaces, so being outdoors gives your little one a break from all the circulating germs – and even clears out their lungs!
For Your Child’s Mental Health
According to a four-year academic study, antidepressant use is on
the rise in kids, with the fastest growing group, being children ages 0-5 years old. Time in nature, especially being exposed to Vitamin D from the sun, significantly decreases psychological scores for depression and anxiety in psychological testing and may keep children from being required to take these medications.
Additionally, when spending time outside, you ingest and breathe a specific soil bacterium which helps decrease anxiety. As a result, children’s stress levels will fall within minutes of seeing green spaces.
National Public Radio recently reported that the average American child spends only 4 – 7 minutes outside per day. We hope that here at Little Angels Preschool & Daycare in Ypsilanti we can skew that number and assist you in raising a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted child, while also fostering a love of nature and the Earth.
1.American Journal of Public Health “A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder”
2.American Science of Microbiology “Can Bacteria Make You Smarter?”
3.Associated Press “Childhood Pastimes are Increasingly Moving Indoors”
4.Children’s Nature Network “Children and Nature Worldwide”
5.Council for Learning Outside the Classroom “Benefits of Early Years Learning Outside the Classroom”
6.Government of Western Australia Department of Sports and Recreation “Why Build a Nature Based Playground”
7.Harvard Health Publication “Spending Time Outdoors is Good For You”
8.The Huffington Post “Why Getting Fresh Air is So Good For You”
9.The National Environmental Education & Training Foundation “ Environment-based Education: Creating High Performance Schools & Students”
10.National Institute of Health “ Fact Sheet for Health Professionals”
11.New York State Department of Environmental Conservation “Immerse Yourself in a Forest for Better Health”
12.Presbyterian Ladies’ College “The Effects of Outdoor Activity On the Brain”
13. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute “Ultraviolet Radiation”
14.University of Iowa “Immunology”
15.White Huchinson: Learning and Leisure Group “ Young Children’s Relationship with Nature”