Jonathan Gray and his wife Mindy have spent their entire lives helping others. The Jonathan Gray Foundation, which provides grants to teachers and organizations in Oregon, is revolutionizing the way children learn through outdoor education. This type of learning can yield all kinds of important benefits.
Creates a Sense of Community
When you're surrounded by nature, you aren't so preoccupied with technology. You're just in the moment, experiencing all of the beautiful sites. That's one of the main advantages of outdoor education, which gets children to reconnect with nature and thereby connect more with each other.
During these educational retreats, children have the opportunity to share cabins where they can bond and truly listen unlike ever before. Outdoor education also incorporates a lot of outdoor activities to help children escape from their comfort zones. They are then capable of making friends with those they may have never thought of talking to before.
Builds Positive Memories
School is often associated with stress and a feeling of dread, especially as the school year draws near. That's not the case with outdoor education, however. Children often want to go to these nature-oriented classes because it lets them surround themselves in a different, memorable environment.
Creating positive memories and feeling closer to nature, children will actually start associating positive experiences with school. It's like they're at camp, only they get to learn skills and subject matter that will benefit them well after these programs are over.
Promotes Kinesthetic Learning
It's fairly common for children to struggle in a traditional classroom. Learning about theories and concepts sometimes doesn't work for the more hands-on learners. That's what makes outdoor education programs so great; they put an emphasis on kinesthetic learning.
While engaging in physical activities outdoors, children are able to touch and feel concepts they're being taught. Then, information is much easier to retain, whether it deals with mathematics or science.
The kinesthetic approach that these outdoor programs provide is particularly helpful for children who struggle paying attention. Being active and fluid helps them center their attention on an activity or topic being taught, as opposed to sitting still and getting distracted in a traditional classroom setting. This problem is all too common for those who suffer from ADHD.
Thanks to the Gray family foundation, more and more parents are starting to realize how important outdoor education is. Even children who struggle with homework or fail tests regularly can truly benefit from these programs' focus on culture, communication, community, and active learning.