Spending time outdoors is essential for all students, especially middle school students. Middle school is a time of intense change and development, both emotionally and physically. Many students face new responsibilities in and out of school while trying to figure out where they fit in and who they are.
Outdoor time can provide a much-needed break from the stress of school, giving middle school students time to relax and recharge. There are several other reasons why outdoor time benefits Montessori middle school students.
4 Ways Outdoor Time Is Good for Montessori Middle Schoolers
The Montessori philosophy encourages outdoor time in the learning environment. Spending time outdoors provides opportunities for students to socialize while they learn in ways different from what a classroom environment can provide. Some of the specific reasons why outdoor time benefits middle school students include the following:
1. Builds Social Skills
Outdoor time can provide students with opportunities to build relationships and socialize with their peers. When students work together on an outdoor project or while playing a game, they can get to know each other better and develop connections.
Social skills are essential for success during middle school and beyond. The outdoors provides a great setting for students to hone these skills and encourages them to develop interpersonal and communication skills.
2. Improves Physical and Mental Health
Outdoor time helps Montessori middle school students improve physical health by providing physical activity and fresh air opportunities. Activities help kids maintain a healthy weight while they build muscle, improve cardiovascular health, and burn calories.
Outdoor time is also beneficial for mental health; studies have shown that being outdoors can help reduce stress and anxiety by increasing serotonin and dopamine levels. It can also decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Reducing stress and anxiety can improve cognitive function, problem-solving skills, and creativity. A reduction in a student’s stress and anxiety also comes with a boost in mood, happiness, and well-being.
3. Develops Better Focus and Concentration
Students who spend time outdoors before taking tests perform better than those who don’t. They also tend to feel refreshed and alert after the test. In general, students who regularly enjoy the outdoors also receive higher-quality sleep, which can further improve cognitive ability.
When students are less stressed and have reduced anxiety levels (along with lower cortisol and higher serotonin and dopamine), they can better focus and concentrate on the tasks at hand, which can ultimately lead to better grades and a more meaningful overall school experience.
4. Boosts Creativity and Hones Life Skills
Children who spend time outdoors during middle school are more likely to be able to generate creative solutions to problems than students who don’t regularly go outside. By honing social and cognitive skills in outdoor play, they are better able to develop solutions to various problems later in their academic careers and beyond.
The outdoors is a rich, exciting, and ever-changing environment that can spark new insights and ideas. As children routinely apply problem-solving skills and creativity to situations, these essential life skills can also apply to instances throughout their lives.
Montessori Middle Schools: Vital for Outdoor Play and Boosting Student Health
If you’re looking for ways to help your middle school student thrive, encourage them to spend more time outdoors. Middle school students at our Cedar Campus enjoy plenty of outdoor time and all the benefits that come with it. To learn more, contact Flagstaff Montessori today.