Here at Happy Journeys, we are dedicated to staying on top of the latest research regarding children’s development, always introducing new ways to inspire and encourage learning in the little ones. Our general formula for success has been nature, nurture and nourish, prioritising the beauty of the outdoors, nurture and encouragement and a dedication to nutritious and delicious food for energy and a passion for a healthy lifestyle. Today we want to focus, in particular, on the nature portion of that equation and why we believe it’s so key in fostering happy and healthy children. Here’s how we use nature to aid children’s development.
Regardless of the untrustworthiness of the British weather, we know that the outside world can make us happy – even just looking at it can brighten our mood! According to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, indoor plants can boost our endorphins and our mood – even just by being around them! They make us happier to get up and go by improving concentration and increasing memory retention by 20%
All of us understand how important it is to keep the environment, both inside and outside, visually appealing and stimulating in order to encourage children to look around, interact with their environment and to inspire them. Sensory surroundings are especially important when it comes to the visual and other developments of children. That’s why we brought the outside in with our beautiful plant mural wall inside the Happy Journeys nursery.
Plants can also contribute toward a child’s physical development. Touching, exploring or gardening with plants can improve locomotor skills, spatial awareness, body management and help develop strength, pincer skills, motor skills and build muscle and balance. Through gardening, children will touch, dig, pat, lift, plant and water and will learn how to pick things up, tip, pour and many other movements through the use of these tools.
Working with plants and nature can also be greatly beneficial to cognitive development. It’s a fantastic way for children of all ages to learn about their environment, whether that’s simply the colours of different plants or something more complex such as their names and their life cycle – how the earth can nourish plants to help them grow. Lots of children are excited to learn that a plant is so much more than what we see above the surface – planting in clear and transparent places such as Tupperware or glass allows children to see all that happens underneath the soil too!
Learning outdoors is a wonderful way to learn and play and, whilst screens can be very helpful in teaching children, we think that the best way to contribute towards a child’s curiosity, learning and development is to go to the great outdoors! Want to see and learn more about how we use nature to aid children’s development? Visit our website or come and pay us a visit at our North London nursery!