(Natural News) Many people think of gardening as merely a relaxing hobby, and it does indeed help to melt away stress. However, the ability to grow your own food is quickly becoming a necessary life skill as processed foods and pesticide-laden produce are shortening people’s lives. Now, a group of European architects has envisioned a revolutionary type of nursery school that will teach farming and sustainable agriculture to young children right along with other crucial skills like reading and writing.
The project, which is known as “Nursery Fields Forever” was recently honored by the AWR International Ideas Competition for its innovative re-imagining of what daycares could be like if they were focused on farming. The competition asked architects to design the ideal nursery school of the future for London children.
The winning proposal was created by a group of four architects hailing from the Netherlands and Italy. Taking children outside to spend time in nature can be difficult in urban locations, so this school brings nature right to the children every day.
Young students would gain a first-hand understanding of concepts such as the seasons, the elements, and the kingdoms of life through practice and technique. The schools would have open spaces instead of classrooms, where students will be able to grow vegetables and interact with animals. They’d learn concepts such as converting sunlight into energy, how water is supplied, how wind can be used to power homes, and how the Earth can nourish crops.
Many young children today spend so much time glued to TV or tablet screens that they don’t always even realize that milk comes from cows, for example, and other basic processes of life. The lack of time with nature experienced by many modern children is being blamed for a host of issues, from vision problems to allergies.
Being around animals can pique children’s curiosity and help them develop immunity to common bugs and allergens, and it can also promote relaxation. Caring for plants and animals can help shy children, who are more likely to interact with others when sharing a nature-related duty. It can also help foster a sense of responsibility.
There is some scientific evidence supporting the notion that learning outdoors is highly beneficial for children. For example, children tend to perform better on tests and remember more of what they study when they spend time outdoors. They are also more likely to eat vegetables if they have helped to grow them.
This type of school could well prove to be a sign of things to come. Many of the other contest entries made use of natural settings. Young children are naturally attracted to nature, and the opportunity to study it could keep children more engaged.
When you consider the many health problems that are linked to a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables and high in processed foods, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, it makes sense to establish good habits as early as possible. Even kids who are willing to eat fruits and vegetables could be at risk if they are not organic because of the carcinogens and heavy metals found in pesticides.
The best efforts of parents to model good eating behavior can face quite a challenge when the other kids at school are eating junk food. However, when everyone is on board with farming and eating homegrown produce, it’s much easier to convince children to adopt an organic lifestyle.
The idea was just a concept for the contest, but one Rome child psychologist is already trying to turn it into reality. There may be some regulatory hurdles to overcome, but the future looks promising. Just think of what the world might be like if more schools take this approach and begin cultivating a respect for nature at an early age!