Giving Compass' Take:

• How much time should kids spend exploring the outdoors? How much time should kids spend working on academics? Conor Williams explains that there are no clear answers, but educators are doing their best. 

• The COVID-19 pandemic complicates these questions. How can philnathropy help explore these questions to provide guidance for educators?  

• Learn more about the importance of environmental education.

Research shows that the freedom of unstructured time in open space helps kids learn to focus. It also just feels good: Nature reduces stress.

And yet, it’s not entirely clear whether or not these programs can deliver on these expectations. Sure, in a generic sense, time outdoors is obviously good for young kids. The hard part is to nail down how much time (and which activities) outside are particularly good for kids—which is to say, what should outdoor education actually look like in practice? Are there particular types of outdoor experiences that kids really need?

In a sense, outdoor education is right in line with a host of other educational trends. The basic conviction that children grow best when adults grant them space, time, and agency is central to many progressive-education models.

As this happens, getting the details right will be important. How can—how should—early-education programs balance the competing demands of academic development and outdoor play? Most kids could benefit from more time outside, but it’s hard to imagine that they don’t also need time with interesting, vocabulary-rich books.

Read the full article about time outside and in the classroom by Conor Williams at The Atlantic.