The Benefits of
At NorthPointe Christian, our Nature-Based Preschool offers our youngest students four key benefits that prepare them for the rest of their life: improved health outcomes, exchanging technology for sensory engagement, increased social-emotional development, and preparation for future academic success.
Improved Health Outcomes
According to a 2018 study, most young children today spend less than 4 hours outside each week(1). The influence of technology in the home and in schools makes children more likely to have a very sedentary, inactive lifestyle, leading to a higher risk of childhood obesity. A recent study reveals that the number of nature preschools in the United States has grown at least 500% since 2012, responding to a “nature deficit disorder” many young children experience(2). Instead of spending the majority of their time outside, children are left to be entertained with gadgets and phones instead of outdoor, physical activity. Enrolling a child in a nature preschool increases their physical health and fitness, while reducing anxiety and stress through extensive, unstructured play and activities. Students in a nature preschool have a less-sedentary lifestyle, encouraging them to build fine and gross motor skills, agility, muscle, healthy weight, and improved immunity(3,4).
Exchanging Technology for Sensory Engagement
In nature preschool, students receive instruction through the form of play-based, outdoor learning that engages all five of their senses. While technology primarily engages children’s sight and auditory senses, nature-based play allows children all-encompassing sensory experiences. In nature preschool, students smell flowers, dig in dirt, taste drops of rain on their tongue, see new places in creation, and hear the noises of nature surrounding them – chirping birds, the rush of a stream, and the snap of branches under their feet. All of these sensory experiences help children build brain connections that facilitate their engagement with the world around them(5).
Increased Social-Emotional Development
Nature preschool grants students a significant increase in their social-emotional development. Through regular sensory engagement and countless opportunities to explore, take risks, and interact with nature, students’ self-esteem and self-confidence blossoms. Similarly, nature preschool allows children to explore together, developing their communication, empathy, and being considerate of others. Outside of the confines of a traditional classroom, students are given opportunities to guide their own learning in community with other students.
Preparation for Future Academic Success
Nature preschool offers extensive preparation for future academic success in students. In addition to social, emotional, fine motor, and gross motor development, nature preschool aids in cognitive and language development, which is crucial to a student’s ongoing academic success(6). Engagement with nature helps students develop critical thinking skills and learn to collaborate with others, which is a crucial aspect of today’s academic environments. Similarly, this extensive exposure to nature at a young age grants students a deeper awareness of sustainability practices and ways to care for the earth. Recent research studies have also demonstrated that nature preschool improves students’ concentration and focus(7).
Nature Preschool grants students the opportunity to engage with nature, granting improved health outcomes, increased sensory engagement and social-emotional development, and preparation for future academic success.
Interested in our Nature-Based Preschool for your preschool-age son or daughter? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a tour, ask questions, and learn more about this incredible program!