Embodied Learning and Natural Light
May 25, 2017 – The “Healthy Vision” Issue.
May is Healthy Vision Month. A widely-read article in Nature reports that “short-sightedness now affects around half of the young adults in the United States and Europe — double the prevalence of half a century ago.”
Ian Morgan, a researcher at the Australian National University in Canberra, says that “children need to spend around three hours per day under light levels of at least 10,000 Lux to be protected against myopia.”
There is no good learning environment without natural light.
In 2014 The Preschool Museum Berlin-Falkensee invited me to curate the exhibit Learning Outdoors, in the surrounding yard of the museum.
I made a bet with the museum’s director that it was possible to create a classroom under the open sky with zero budget. I used my childhood memory, observations and stories that I had collected working as an educators trainer and teaching artist, and everyday-life materials I found in the garden and in the museum’s basement.
I designed and implemented an inspiring environment to foster autonomous play-learning experiences for children in the age 2 – 8 and their educators in full natural light. I won the bet! The good news is, everyone can do this.
Learning Outdoors focuses on motion, self-awareness, social-emotional learning, and self-guided discovery of literacy and numeracy in nature.
To learn how to transition a class and a classroom under the open sky, I tailored a workshop and training session called Learning in Outdoor Environments, targeted to daycare, preschool, K – 3 teachers, early childhood librarians, and museum educators. Parts of the Learning Outdoors exhibit have been reworked in my articles
“Get Out of that Classroom! Sincerely, Your Vision” and
Rediscovering Time Under The Open Sky.
Tip: roll-up all the blinds in the classroom and let natural light in after using projectors.
Talk soon! Tommaso
Upcoming Public Performances
Bounce the Sun at Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY
A life without a swing is a misunderstanding.