Why is nature and sustainability integrated into DGS? Why is it important?

So why is nature play so important?  

 

Research finds benefits in:

  • Cognitive development

  • Physical development

  • Social development

  • Empathy development

  • Positive sense of self"

Read more here in an article by The Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center

Being outdoors and in nature is associated with numerous benefits including better physical, mental, and emotional health.  The natural environment is a complex and diverse one that contains opportunities for children to learn and develop in all areas.

"Being outdoors and in nature is associated with numerous benefits including better physical, mental, and emotional health.  The natural environment is a complex and diverse one that contains opportunities for children to learn and develop in all areas.  Although the many benefits of being in nature have been researched, children are spending less time outdoors than ever before. This disconnect to nature may be due to several factors including the prevalence of media and technology, less green space to play, safety concerns, and adult perceptions about the importance of time spent outdoors.  

Sustainability at DGS

"In a globalizing world of limited resources and unlimited ingenuity, [schools] play a vital role in preparing students to meet the sustainability challenges of the future.

What is sustainability?  What do we want to sustain?  An important part of teaching sustainability issues involves keeping these questions always open and alive.  Sustainability offers a novel framework for asking enduring philosophical questions: What is the good life?  How do we create a better world?  Thinking and teaching about sustainability are future-oriented projects, but the relevance of sustainability principles and practices must be articulated in the present. " -Vanderbilt University

 

At DGS we teach about sustainability by scoping out to investigate the big picture (global perspective), and then scoping in, to focus on the details. Students might investigate a closed loop system to eliminate waste, or using Cradle to Cradle principles (regenerative design) to develop their next product to sell at the Farmers’ Market. 

 

We also learn about sustainability through our aquaponics system, our vermiculture, and through every day practices such as composting, recycling, and energy conservation.