In our fast-paced technology-filled world, information processing is happening at lightning speed. If we as adults sometimes feel like we can't keep up, imagine what it must feel like for children! We also know that children today are spending less and less time in nature compared to past generations. Reconvening with nature has been well researched and documented and the benefits are innumerable. Connecting children to nature increases their creativity and problem-solving skills. It improves self-management, cognitive, and social relationship skills. In essence, nature is important for children in every developmental way.
At Cascades Academy, part of our mission is to provide the time, space, and programming for our students to understand their place and responsibilities in our natural world. Over the past two weeks, the 4th and 5th graders attended our annual team building and leadership overnight trip to Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center and the PreK-3rd grade students participated in a similar one-day trip to Skyliner's Lodge. The purpose was the same: students had the opportunity to connect with nature, their adult leaders, and with each other. Forming connections and positive relationships with each other normally takes weeks inside the four walls of a classroom. When you get kids in nature, this important team-building process moves at lightning speed! It's truly incredible to bear witness to the multiple ways children learn when you take them outside.
-Natalie Wilhelm, Lower School Head