At Colegio Akua, nature is interwoven into education. Flowers decorate the walls and windows as trees tower over the building. In the Peace Garden, we grow vegetables, take care of chickens and the small fishes that swim in the nearby pond together with the water turtles. Cats regularly wander the grounds.
Our relationship with nature is one of the most important values at Akua. As said in our pedagogy, “we take advantage of our great outer space to integrate an interdependence with nature and promote unity.”
We believe nurturing a relationship and interest in nature in our students will help them grow into environmentally-conscious individuals who will care for the planet. We are as much a part of this world as the cats and chickens who live on the school’s property, and the flowers and trees that grow here.
As for all beings, it’s important to spend time under the sun. It can help reduce stress and improve our mood. For children in particular, being in a natural environment may help them learn better. It helps them relieve stress, but it also helps with their attention span and impulse control.
Outdoor learning also engages and interests students more than a typical classroom setting, according to multiple studies. Being able to interact with your surroundings, like touching a stone or sinking your fingers into the soil is a large reason why. This type of exploratory learning also promotes creativity in children. It also, of course, helps with their physical health, in that children are able to run around, have fun all while interacting with nature.
By taking advantage of the outdoors and allowing children to be as they are, it not only fosters a good development, but a love for the world we live in and its natural wonders.