“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” - John Muir
One of my most favorite things to do, is to go camping with my family. There is something so peaceful about the smell of the trees and the grass in the early morning hours. I love to sit outside by myself, with a hot cup of coffee just taking it all in. There is something about the silence in nature that is both soothing to my soul, yet excites my senses. I witness this same excitement, as I watch my own children run around exploring the earth with bare feet and wild smiles. It’s pure childhood joy. It’s this same joy and wonder that I’ve had the pleasure of cultivating in the Nature Immersion program at The Verdi Eco School. In our Nature Immersion program, we believe children are capable, creative, and curious. We believe that connecting to nature is vital to our well-being and most importantly, that mud is fun!
In the past decade, the benefits of connecting to nature have been well documented in numerous scientific research studies and publications. Collectively, this body of research shows that children’s social, psychological, academic and physical health is positively impacted when they have daily contact with nature. Positive impacts include: creativity and problem solving, enhances cognitive abilities, improves academic performance, reduces ADD symptoms, increases physical activity, improves eyesight, social relationships, nutrition, self discipline and reduces stress!
Nature play supports multiple development domains. Nature is important to children’s development in every major way—intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically (Kellert, 2005). Nature-based preschools have been popular in Europe for decades, but they are a relatively new growing trend in the US. A recent survey by Natural Start Alliance found there are more than 250 nature-based preschools across the US, two-thirds more than last year.
Advocate Richard Louv says that increase is good news for kids. “There is a new body of evidence out there that really shows a connection, at least, between spending more time in nature and being healthier, happier and maybe even smarter,” Louv says.
At The Verdi Eco School, our Nature Immersion curriculum is inspired by the philosophy of Reggio Emilia, and integrates the principles of place-based learning and the project approach. We give children the support they need to be intellectually curious, socially and emotionally aware, and compassionate individuals.
I’m excited to share that we’re extending our program offerings and adding Afternoon Atelier with our very own Atelierista, Ms. Natalia! An atelier is much more than an art studio. It is a place where children can experiment and create with many different types of media. We recognize that children are born with thousands of ideas and have hundreds of languages of expression. These languages might include, painting, singing, building, taking apart, or drawing, the possibilities are endless. With the addition, of the Afternoon Atelier program, it is our goal to continue to cultivate joy and wonder through nature and provide an additional outlet for the expression of these languages and to be open to the possibility of many, many more. Learn more about and apply for Nature Immersion and the Afternoon Atelier program by visiting: www.verdiecoschool.org/nature-immersion