‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ is a term coined by Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods. This is not a medical condition, but a description of the human costs of alienation from nature and the damage it does to children. In a world where the landscape is becoming increasingly urbanised and man-made, a school located in a forest may sound like a fairytale. Woodland Star International School is not only a school that follows the principles of Forest Schools, but is also located IN the 40-acre Brackenhurst Forest.
How Nature Helps Children Learn
Without a doubt, our school enjoys one of the most beautiful, spacious and green campuses in Nairobi. Interactions with nature, the forest and the green spaces all around us are baked into our everyday curriculum.
Greater Good magazine published an article highlighting the Six Ways Nature Helps Children Learn. “Nature improves children’s psychological and physical well-being and that can impact learning. But it also seems to affect how they attend to and engage in the classroom, how much they can concentrate, and how well they get along with teachers and peers.” Here are some of the ways nature can help children learn:
- Restores attention
- Relieves stress
- Helps children develop more self-discipline
- Outdoor instruction make students more engaged and interested
- May increase physical fitness
- May promote social connection and creativity
Non-Traditional Classroom Setting
Our unique forest environment, including an onsite agro-forestry project and seed bank, gives our students the opportunity to learn more deeply about nature and conservation, as the trees and vegetation provide a source-based learning experience that is difficult to replicate and often neglected in traditional classroom settings.
Woodland Star – ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ Antidote
The forest that surrounds our school has played a vital role in our curriculum development. Our students use weekly nature walks through our indigenous forest as part of their learning. Regular engagement with surrounding nature and exploration of our wide, open spaces is part and parcel of the school life of every child at Woodland Star. The environment and setting of our school is regularly mentioned by past students and their families as being a critical part of their educational experience. “WSS is a place of acceptance where all are valued for being unique individuals. Our children Ned and Hana became more empathic, caring and giving because of it. They climbed trees, played with mud, grew fruits and vegetables, built eco-friendly structures, explored the forest and released orphaned owls.”
If you want to find out more about the benefits of our school in the forest for your children, you can book a tour here: https://www.woodlandstarkenya.com/schedule-a-tour/