Facts and figures with regards to the impact of a tree environment on scholastic performance

By planting trees in a scholastic environment, we are enabling children to enjoy the benefits of nature on a daily basis.  Scientific research has shown that there is a correlation between children’s emotional and physical wellbeing and the surroundings that they are exposed to.

Summary

Children have less opportunity to be outdoors today than in the past.

Educational theory suggests that contact with nature facilitates development of cognitive, emotional and spiritual connections in children.

Ecological theory suggests that interaction with nature is important as creative, cognitive and intellectual and social relationship development in children are encouraged through outdoor activities – overall improving a child’s mental health and function.

Among older children, exposure to nature encourages exploration and building activities.  This improves problem-solving abilities, ability to respond to changing context as well as participation in group decision making.

Younger children use outdoor settings in imaginative play and it was found that a cluster of shrubs was the most popular place to play as it could be transformed into many imaginary places: a house, pirate ship etc.

Source:  University of Washington – Urban Forestry/Urban Greening Research, Green Cities:  Good Health

Summary

ADHD kids are better able to concentrate, complete tasks, and follow direction after playing in natural setting

Trees help girls succeed.  The greener a girl’s view from home, the better concentration and self-discipline becomes, enabling her to do better in school.

Source:  Taylor, A.F.; Kuo, F.; Sullivan, W. 2001. Coping with ADD: The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings. Environment and Behavior 33(1).

Summary

Physical activity in schools will be enhanced when children have more opportunities for engaging with nature-related features.

In a research project conducted in Queensland, Australia among 133 students (age 10 and 11) from nine primary schools, the following was observed.

Children were asked to draw pictures of the elements they preferred in their ideal schoolMain themes appearing in the pictures included natural features, food production elements, calming features, sports grounds, outdoor classes and activities as well as animal-related features.

Over 80% of the students preferred one or more features that reflected a desire to be physically active outdoors as well as indoors.  Students connected natural features with calmness, peace, care, compassion, better concentration and a deeper engagement with learning.  They also wanted opportunities to interact directly with such natural features as trees, water and animals.

The authors concluded their research summary with the following statement:  ‘If schools were re-designed to incorporate diverse natural features, children’s physical activity and consequent health and well-being would likely improve markedly.

Source:  Sharma-Brymer, V., Bland, D., (2016). Bringing nature to schools to promote children’s physical activity. Sports Medicine, 46, 955-962.