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5 Ways to Incorporate Nature in Schools for Better Student Performance

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It is essential for us to spend time with nature. In this article, you’ll find out 5 ways to incorporate nature in a classroom that will not only improve students’ health but will also benefit the staff’s health and performance.  

Our natural tendency to seek connections with nature and with other life forms is known as biophilia. However, 90% of our time is spent indoors, especially for students who spend more than 6 hours every weekday inside the school buildings under normal conditions. It is thus a possibility that many children and adolescents tend to lose their innate connection with nature. An American report on disconnection and recreation to reconnection proved a growing disconnect between nature and people (especially children). Moreover, it was revealed from the study that children (ages 8-12 years old) are spending almost three times as much time watching TV or playing on the computer as they do playing outside.

In this article, we will explore the impact of biophilia on the health, well-being and performance of students and staff members and will also recommend five ways with which more nature in schools can be incorporated.

Bonding with Nature Is Necessary for Our Health

There’s enough evidence to prove that our physical, social and psychological well-being, including recovery from stress and happiness, mental awareness – are impacted by our connection with nature. It was found out that exposure to greenery and nature is associated with improved physical and mental health. These include increased recovery from mental fatigue and stress, reduced aggression, improved ADHD symptoms, and even higher standardized class performances and improved retention power in students. It also benefits the staff as it keeps them healthy and sane contributing to reduction in the number of sick days. 

The challenge, however, lies in the fact that most schools lack greenery. This is either due to constraints like finances and space. Schools that are mostly located in low-cost urban areas have insufficient access to greenery. In fact, you might be surprised to know that a study conducted for high school students proved that school campuses that lacked greenery, such as trees and shrubs, imposed a negative effect on test scores and future educational plans. Another study showed that children who were involved with sufficient levels of physical activity and increased rates of positive social interactions, when they played on grass and playground areas in comparison to blacktop and hard surfaces such like asphalt, which are usually found in schools. 

The 5 ways to incorporate nature in schools that will further help the students reconnect with nature can be simpler than you can imagine. The following are just a few ways to incorporate more nature into the days at school.

Bring the nature inside classrooms

Infusing elements of nature into the classroom is capable of enhancing our ability to focus. The fact is backed by a study conducted between the students of 5-6th grade that showed that the presence of plants in the classroom enhanced academic performance. In fact, students from schools that had no previous biophilia programs witnessed a better performance by 10-15% in their test scores after bringing the plants in the classrooms.

Bring Nature to Your Students

Remember the times when the concept of Gurukuls existed? If you’ve watched mythological series, you’d know that students back then were taught the most important lessons in the lap of nature. This is because, nature-based education and the activity of playing outdoors is associated with enhanced cognitive function, better mood and improved social skills. A great way to encourage students to go outdoors and bond with nature is occasional field trips. A study conducted showed that students who were taken to occasional field trips to zoos and botanical gardens, had a better test performance in science than the ones who weren’t.

Virtual Biophilia

With technology revolutionizing lives, if bringing the real greenery is not an option, take to virtual biophilia in that case. Projectors or computer screens displaying virtual greenery in the classrooms is an alternative. You’d be surprised to know that even a 40 seconds glance at a picture of the greens and flowers in the roof is capable of improving performance and boosting attention than a bare concrete roof.

Outdoor Views

It is crucial that school buildings are designed in a way that they show views of gardens, trees, flowers and water fountains to the students and not of concrete buildings around. The spaces should be designed in such a way that these natural elements are visible to the students when they are seated in their place. The view shouldn’t be obstructed if the students sit as they are mostly seated during their hours at school. It was found out that students in classrooms who have green views have a significantly faster recovery from stress and mental fatigue. They even performed significantly higher in the tests related to the ability to focus, compared to students in classrooms who have no windows or views blocked by building facades.

School Garden Programs

Schools with garden programs are a boon for both students and the teaching staff. These thoughtful programs are proven to be associated with improved test scores and a considerable boost of creativity due to the influence of nature. 

As a certified green school, not only do we provide a greener environment for students at MS Dhoni Global School, but also we make sure that each student is leveraging the best of nature in school.