Spending time in green spaces or bringing nature into your everyday life benefits both your mental and physical wellbeing.
Here at Hatherop Castle, the children are surrounded by a beautiful English country estate with wide open green fields for playtime and matches, an Italian Garden with great slopes for rolling down, an adventure playground, a treehouse as an outdoor classroom and two forest areas for den building and tree climbing.
Lessons are often taken outside, whether that is reading in the treehouse, building and firing water rockets in science, painting in art or participating in problem solving activities in maths. You cannot help but be inspired by the beauty of the grounds we have around us, so taking the classroom outdoors is integral to our educational philosophy.
The impact of the Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted new concerns about mental wellbeing in young people, suggesting children are more risk averse, have experience of low activity levels and increased screen time as well as access to inappropriate information through media channels.
Here at Hatherop Castle we understand the benefits of staying close to nature are profound and long lasting. Through learning outdoors, we can all enjoy the positive effects of connecting with our beautiful environment at all levels of well-being.
Recent studies have confirmed that outdoor activities reduce the likelihood of developing eyesight problems like hypermetropia and myopia, encouraging us to use our eye muscles in more active and diverse ways. Nature helps emotional regulation and improves memory function. It helps you feel more motivated and energized as well as increasing performance. Just breathing in nature helps us to be more mindful of what we see, hear, smell and feel.
Environmental psychologists have argued that there is a value component added to the human-nature relationship. By staying close to nature, we feel more grateful and appreciative of what it has to offer us.
To summarise from the words of the charity MIND.
“Nature heals, nature restores, nature soothes, nature connects.”