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The Many Benefits of Time Outside

Posted: 3:43PM March 23rd, 2017 | Comments

Outdoor learning ranges from engaging students in vegetable gardening, to planting native plants for wildlife habitat and storm water management, to using nature to learn math, literacy, social studies, etc. Even allowing children to have time to play freely in nature is outdoor learning! After working with Sustain Dane, and our partners at the Madison Metropolitan School District, Public Health Madison & Dane County and City of Madison Parks on the Connecting Children and Nature Initiative, I’ve learned that my passions for sustainability, nutrition and food accessibility are shared throughout Madison. Researching and ‘digging in’ to the outdoor learning field, its surprised me that outdoor learning is not only an effort of Sustain Dane, but of organizations and governments worldwide. Outdoor learning is seen in places such as London, Scandinavia, Denmark and more. It is assuring to know that the work I am assisting with locally is understood globally.

I’ve always felt an immediate positive impact when I go outside, whether that is going on a run, walking to class on a nice day, or volunteering at a farm in Madison. However, I have learned that experiences outdoors boosts children’s’ cognitive skills, emotional stability, physical well-being and environmental stewardship. It astonishes me that the simple act of just going outside can have so many positive benefits-benefits studied and explored worldwide. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a beautifully vibrant environment every single day. Even if it’s covered in 6ft of ice, frosted by snow or radiating because of the excessive heat, the outdoors has a vast amount to offer.

I am thoroughly enjoyed interning at Sustain Dane. I think that my work is valuable and meaningful here because I am working with other team members on a combined and long-term project that will help hundreds of children gain the benefits of the outdoors. In my first few weeks here, I have learned that change is possible with the right team and plan.

Written by Arielle Chaifetz, Sustainable Schools Initiative Intern

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