One of the biggest concerns parents have held in our recent remote world is what learning from a distance is doing to the social and cognitive development of their children. While tasks are still assigned and expectations still held, many can admit that what takes place at home behind a screen is no comparison to an interactive classroom environment. While talks of reopening linger in the air, there is no denying that our children’s immediate future is uncertain, and it may be some time before we see a return to what we once considered normal. This begs the question: how do we foster developmental growth outside of school? Maybe the answer here is not the keyword “school”, but rather a focus on what lies “outside”.
Outdoor Learning & Adventure Parks: The Classes We Always Wanted
The best thing we can do in times of chaos and upheaval is to revisit our roots–literally. Our adventure park, Boundless Adventures, offers three locations in Purchase, NY, Berlin, MA, and Kenosha, WI, that allow guests from near and far to come explore a world amongst the trees. The best opportunities for learning that we can provide for our children involve hands on, experiential learning. We owe them the ability to explore their environment in a tangible way.
While books and lectures are important, we cannot forget Howard Gardner, who proposed the theory of Multiple Intelligences in education. This theory suggests that there are multiple ways, eight in fact, in which we learn and interact with the world around us. While traditional schooling focuses primarily on the logical/mathematical, linguistic, and perhaps musical intelligences, one such overlooked approach is the bodily-kinesthetic one, in which we learn through movement.
Our courses, which allow children as young as seven to climb and play, capture the essence of this kinesthetic component. Our guests immerse themselves in our rope and zipline courses, which allow them to break beyond boundaries and to build confidence and bravery. These qualities will transfer to other areas of life, and aid them in other academic and career pursuits.
Adventure parks and the challenges that our obstacle courses provide allow children to explore intrapersonal learning as well. They must learn to process their emotions, overcome their fears, and make decisions. Even moreso they must activate and strengthen their visual-spatial capacities when they anticipate and imagine their next move. When working with a team or with friends and family, our courses also allow for the strengthening of the interpersonal intelligence. Who knows–your child may even explore the naturalistic approach to learning as they immerse themselves in the great outdoors!
What becomes clear is that getting out into nature and playing, like in the good old days, is essential to our cognitive and social development. While the high technology offerings of our indoor world seem to be the way of the future, it is the hands on problem solving of play that really captures the 21st century skills that our schools are so trying to build. Critical thinking and communication come hand in hand with adventure.
Though times are uncertain, we must look to the silver lining in the clouds. At our parks, you can get even closer to that silver lining as you lift yourself up into the air. School in the traditional sense that we have hoped for may not be our current reality, but a little outdoor exploration and problem solving is just what the doctor ordered.