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Why Ecological Learning is Important for Children
Learning about the natural environment and ecology goes beyond studying sustainability and eco-friendly practices. It’s also about developing appreciation of natural processes and learning more about the interdependent relationships among organisms and their surroundings.
Gaining richer outdoor experiences
For children, they have that natural urge to explore their environment. They’re naturally curious about what an organism does and how it feels like to climb a tree. By themselves, they’re always trying to learn about nature, its organisms and its processes. Perhaps this is their way of trying to make sense of the world around them. Maybe because of their lack of experience, they try to catch up by always being active, especially during outdoor play.
To make outdoor play more fun, engaging and productive, one way is to include ecological and agricultural experiences. This is where they somehow learn about taking care of rabbits and chickens and growing vegetable and herb gardens. Directly, they will learn concepts about growth, interdependence and cause-effect relationships.
Aside from learning, children also get to find a sense of fulfilment and productivity just as many adults find satisfaction in growing plants and gardens. After some time, there are tangible results which literally show the fruits of their labour. For children, it goes beyond satisfying because they will find the process and results as amazing.
Other outdoor activities are as important in early childhood development. What ecological learning offers is that it develops further awareness and appreciation of what happens to the common things around them. At an early age, they might somehow learn that results take time and effort.
Because of the importance and benefits of ecological learning, we’ve included it in our curriculum here at Dorset Early Learning Centre. We facilitate rich outdoor experiences that involve learning and appreciation of ecology, agriculture and environmental awareness. It’s one way to expose children to a variety of positive experiences at an early age.