In Chester College International School we always strive to make the most of our spacious green grounds, so whenever the sun shines we make sure our students get outdoors, interact with the environment, breath fresh air and exercise and play in nature.
The benefits of outdoor play, particularly for children, are well known and numerous research studies support it. A research published in the “Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health” highlights that children exercising outdoors get more out of their PE class:
- Creativity: outdoor play increases children´s energy and also their creativity. The unpredictability of the environment (compared to closed spaces) adds a surprise factor to outdoor play. Children are naturally invited to develop their resourcefulness, their imagination and creativity.
- Promotion of autonomy and independence: insofar as play is less guided, children are pushed to find solutions for themselves.
- Relaxation: It is a well know fact that physical activity helps children relax and channel their energy excesses. A recent study conducted by a team of researchers from Coventry University has derived that outdoor exercise reduces blood pressure more tan exercising in a closed or anaerobic space.
- Development of social skills: shyer children may find nature a good stimulus for the promotion of their relational skills. Little by Little, they learn to overcome their shyness and to improve their self-confidence.Exercise increases endorphin levels, but more so in an outdoor setting versus a closed one, and even more so if exercise is done with others, be them class mates, friends or relatives. Exercise thus pushes us to reach out to others, and it makes us happier!
Furthermore, outdoor play and exercise in Chester College I. S. is done in a setting where the use of the various languages the child might be learning (be it English or Spanish mainly) is actively promoted. In our experience, play and exercise settings are ideal for language development insofar as children are relaxed and less prone to embarrassment than in more formal environments.