Benefits of Focusing on Nature in Learning
Dr. Krisi Smith, D.Ed., M.Ed., CFE   •   May 22, 2023

From the outside looking in, a pre-school classroom can look like random, fun activities. What many may not realize is that the design of the lessons, activities, and even topics are carefully planned out to optimize skill development, creativity, and thinking. Learning about nature inside of the classroom does more than just keep kids entertained for the moment. Learning about nature helps build a variety of scientific skills that are vital to future educational success.

At Children’s Lighthouse, all three of our proprietary curriculums feature lessons and activities built around learning about plants and flowers during the month of May. Looking inside of any classroom, one will find a variety of activities such as art projects and experiments using manipulatives and tools that allow children to investigate and explore plants and flowers found in nature. These activities will engage the children in fun, hands-on experiences that will strengthen learning skills while exploring the outside world. Early introduction to science helps young children build a foundation for future learning. It exposes young children to the basic concepts such as observation, experimentation, and problem solving. These are the steps all scientists use to explore the world and gain knowledge and part of a process called the Scientific Method.

Nature is rich in science lessons about cause and effect! Rain and sun make the flowers grow. Flowers provide bees with pollen to make honey. Plants give animals food to eat so they can grow. Children can use their imagination to creatively identify relationships all around them connected to the amazing world of nature.

Nature is the perfect classroom because preschoolers are innately curious. Preschoolers cannot sit for long periods of time to listen to information, but that is not needed when discoveries through nature are right outside the door. By having preschoolers intentionally learn about nature around them, it creates an environment where every location, whether at school or at home, can be a learning experience. For instance, simply reading and learning about how plants grow inside of the classrooms at Children’s Lighthouse allows for any outdoor walk to then become moments of engaging critical and analytical thinking. The moments of learning about parts of a plant, what makes plants grow, and the wide variety of beautiful flowers all create exploration opportunities that extend far beyond the school day to anywhere they go!

This May, help continue the learning far beyond the classroom by enjoying and exploring nature around your home! Simple walks to discuss what they see and what they are learning at school are a great way to reinforce learning while spending quality time with your child.

If you are interested in exploring nature even further, below is a link to a previous Children’s Lighthouse article that outlines different fun and engaging nature walks that can take the learning even deeper!
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