The sound of a gurgling river flowing under melting ice; the scent of crushed balsam needles; the glimpse of a striking red cardinal on a bare winter branch. Being outdoors engages all our senses. We hone our focus and find a deeper sense of calm and joy in the simple things.
Recently, many of us have been drawn to the outdoors in search of distance and space—a place to unplug, disconnect and reconnect with ourselves and our surroundings. There’s a reason why we’re drawn to nature during stressful times. Studies show that nature is a powerful healer. Simply being outside can improve students’ attention and concentration, decrease stress hormones, blood pressure and relieve depression.
Considering the ever-changing Covid restrictions in Ontario, it’s great to know you don’t have to venture far to benefit from nature’s healing hands. Explore your own schoolyard or visit a nearby local park or natural area with your students. You can still capture some of the benefits by simply taking time with your students to gaze outside, look at nature photographs or add plants to your classroom.
So move some desks in front of windows, set your screensaver to your favourite nature scene (you can find lots here) and curbside-order some succulents to dress up your classroom.