The body of evidence keeps growing – nature is good for children and really good for the brain! Actually, spending time in nature is essential for children’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. It’s an unfortunate reality, childhood has moved inside. Research is showing that the average American child spends just four to seven minutes in unstructured outdoor play each day, and more time than that is spent using devices and in front of a screen. While technology is surely here to stay in the lives of young children, we do know these early years are primed for rapid brain development. What young children need to learn, they learn best by interacting with people and the real world. In this workshop we’ll explore the role of nature and experiences with natural materials on development. How are problem-solving, thinking skills, social competence, and physical development enhanced by experiences in and with nature? We’ll consider some intriguing concepts such as why dirt is good for the body and how simply adding green spaces will help to enhance the well-being of young children and the people who care for them.
By participating in this workshop participants will:
- Learn some of the research findings examining the effects of nature on the developing brain.
- Be able to identify why nature is good for the mind, body, and spirit.
- Discuss the ways in which we can provide a balance between technological and nature experiences for all children
- Brain storm ways which this information can be used to enhance programs
- Have first hand experiences in and with nature.
Gateways Content Area: Human Growth & Development
Gateways CDA Content Area: Physical/Intellectual
*There is a limit of 30 participants for this workshop.*
**This workshop includes free zoo admission and parking for the day.**
**Please feel free to bring your own lunch, or you will be able to purchase lunch at the zoo.**
**For Brookfield Zoo location - You must park at the South Gate as this is the only entrance open at that time of day. The workshop will take place in the ITW building. It’s a short walk after entering the zoo at the South Gate Arches.**