Have you ever heard of Maria Montessori?
Well, she happens to be one of the first to advocate for nature-based play! And yes, you guessed it, she's where the term 'Montessori' comes from.
Maria was among the first to advocate the benefits of outdoor activities for kids.
According to Maria, giving children the opportunity to spend time in the outdoors, with no time limits and no strict directions, supports their academics more than any lesson in the classroom could ever.
Outdoor Play Effect on Mental Health
Spending time in the sun can help reduce anxiety and stress and help your body produce serotonin, which is a feel-good chemical. Studies have revealed that children who are surrounded by green spaces and spend a good amount of time outside have very few chances of developing any mental illnesses in the future.
Outdoor Play Effect on Physical Health
Maria has a strong belief that it is necessary for children to be surrounded by a natural environment for their health and physical development. She supports children climbing trees, running up hills, playing in the garden - basically doing anything to move freely for their physical improvement.
And with no surprise, Montessori turned out to be correct, again. Science discovered that children who spend their time playing in green areas are more interested in muscle-strengthening activities and aerobics than their fellow mates who spend time in artificial “traditional” playgrounds
Outdoor Play Effect on Problem-solving and Sharing
Researchers also found out that spending time outdoors and developing ADHD have a negative correlation. Giving children some time to spare in nature helps them improve their ability to be present while learning. Open-ended time in the outdoors helps children in improving self-discipline, focus, impulse control, and problem-solving skills. It also helps in the improvement of a child’s decision-making functions that are a necessity for strengthening positive social skills.
To Sum It Up
Maria says that we might underestimate the strength of children. Even the smallest ones might go unnoticed, but in order for it to be revealed, the child must have free play. Being a Montessori teacher, she is well aware of the significance of outdoor time and claims that the answer to children's development we’re looking for will only be found outside.
Maria has long since expressed all the benefits that surround independent outdoor play and finally, science has now started to catch up with her.