“Nurturing Learning with Nature” is the title of the newest Exchange Reflections, based on an article by Martina B. Albright.
The author outlines many benefits for children of spending time in nature in early childhood programs, emphasizing especially increased emotional regulation. She explains:
“A key concept in early education literature today is the idea of emotional regulation (Sobel, 2016). It is defined as the ability to identify what one is feeling and control that emotion so that it fits one’s surroundings. This means that moments of intense excitement while the group is focused on a story, or anger at not getting the last cracker at snack, or frustration at not getting your choice activity after circle, are all typical emotions that a preschool child must learn to regulate. This is a skill that many believe is foundational to a child’s ability to succeed in getting along with others and adapting to the multitude of situations school presents (Hanscom, 2017).
While being able to regulate energy and feelings indoors is important, time outdoors provides ideal scenarios for children to work through emotions (Hanscom, 2017). When children are outside, their senses are attuned to noises, smells and touch in a different way than when they are indoors, where the environment is often overstimulating (Hanscom, 2017).”
An article on the Kaiser Family Foundation website, “Well Being During the Coronavirus Pandemic” outlines some of the emotional challenges children are experiencing during the pandemic:
“Parent stress due to childcare, schooling, lost income, or other pandemic-related pressures can negatively affect children’s emotional and mental health, harm the parent-child bond and have long-term behavioral implications.”
The Exchange Reflections encourages discussion on ways time in nature can help children cope with troubling emotions, as well as develop positive feelings such as empathy.
Source: “Well Being During the Coronavirus Pandemic,” by Rachel Garfield and Priya Chidambaram, September 24, 2020, kff.org
Exchange Reflections are designed to help a team of people meet in-person or live online to think deeply together about a topic using an article from Exchange magazine as a guide. Included are discussion questions to help guide reflections, as well as a "Making Commitments" idea sheet to help prompt ideas into action and an Exchange Reflections Certificate. For your convenience, Exchange Reflections are available in PDF format and you can download immediately on your desktop.
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