Recently, I visited a Finnish forest kindergarten, where 5- and 6-year-old children are outside nearly 80 percent of the time, as I reported in my latest Atlantic article:

“Four days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Finland’s required amount of daily kindergarten instruction), this group of 14 children is outside with their veteran teacher and two classroom aides. In Finland, this is not a typical kindergarten setting (only a handful of forest kindergartens exist in this Nordic country), but in Europe, such places have been popular for decades…”

After visiting I was curious to hear about the benefits of nature-based learning. So I reached out to Richard Louv, the author of Last Child in the Woods. This is how he responded, in part:

“The research strongly suggests that time in nature can help many children learn to build confidence in themselves; reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, calm children, and help them focus. There are some indications that natural play spaces can reduce bullying. It can also be a buffer to child obesity and overweight, and offers other psychological and physical health benefits.”

Better cognitive functioning has been linked to nature-based learning for years, Louv noted.

To read more of Louv’s insights and more about my experiences with a Finnish forest kindergarten, see my newest article, “Kindergarten, Naturally.” Thanks for reading and sharing!