Open House at Unionville, Saturday July 25th, 10:30

Empowering Childhood Experiences

An approach to foster relationships, knowledge and imagination

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6605 Highway 7 E,

Markham ON L3P 3B4
Ph 905.471.6260

4813 14th Avenue, <p>

Markham ON <p>

L3S 3K7 <p>

Ph 905.944.9200

120 – 5970 16th Avenue,

Markham ON L3P 7R1

Ph 905.201.0185

100 Carlton Road,
Unionville, On L3R 1Z9
PH 905.477.8377

How Nature Captures Kids Attention and Builds Confidence
Indoor and urban environments, on the other hand, tend to deplete our capacity to pay attention. As one group of researchers has noted, the natural environment has the ability to refill or rebuild focused attention, and not merely because nature is "restful" or "peaceful." Studies indicate that a natural environment outperforms a peaceful non-natural environment (such as quiet time at home) when it comes to replenishing our attention system. There is no environment comparable to a natural, outdoor landscape for improving a child's ability to focus and attend.

Beyond their cognitive boost, outdoor experiences also improve a child's hardiness and confidence. Hardiness is the ability to moderate negative effects of stress–to overcome and move on from difficult experiences. Hardiness is related to resilience: a hardy child has the inner strength to bounce back from disappointment and letdown.

Further, experiences outdoors develop self-confidence and self-esteem in children. While parents sometimes mistakenly believe that protecting their children from difficulty and failure fosters confidence, it turns out that the opposite is true: protected children often lack confidence and a strong self-concept. Spending time exploring the natural world, and especially developing the learning skills that wilderness experiences impart, helps children have faith in themselves and develop the belief that they are competent and capable.

Developing a Sense of Independence
Not surprisingly, along with a boost in competence comes the development of autonomy. While we all want our children to become independent and adept adults, our constant connection to them through technology, our insistence that they partake in only supervised activities, and our tendency to schedule their time can undermine their development into autonomous beings. Studies show that children who regularly interact with nature mature into more independent beings, able to take care of themselves and to take pride in that ability.

Ensuring that our children spend quality time every day in natural spaces will enhance attention and memory, develop resilience and self-confidence, reduce the likelihood of developing anxiety disorders or depression, and improve the quality of life.

If we give our kids "green" play and learning time every day, their growing minds will revel in the experience.
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