Nearby nature boosts children‟s cognitive functioning
A precursor to Nancy Wells’ research, reported back in 2000, shows that proximity to, views of, and daily exposure to natural settings increases children’s ability to focus and therefore enhances cognitive abilities. The ability to focus is the core issue in children with AD&HD – Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder. I’m familiar with the downside since 3 of our 6 children have AD&HD – in 3 very unique flavors. Living in Los Angeles is a mixed blessing: We are both immersed in urban sprawl and too much traffic – yet lucky enough to be in a city with (so we’re told) more trees than any other city in the United States. LA also has some excellent parks, but maybe growing up in rural environments is even better.
Access to backyard playground equipment placed into a natural green setting is proven beneficial for a child’s mental health as well as well as their physical and emotional development.
Reference: Wells, N.M. “At Home with Nature: Effects of „Greenness‟ on Children‟s Cognitive Functioning.” Environment and Behavior. Vol. 32, No. 6, 775-795. This study is not available online without purchase; http://eab.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/32/6/775 (Volume 1)