With the news that our government plans to introduce national tests for seven-year-olds, a move that shows just how far our exam obsession has come in the UK, Ben Fogle has moved to say that the right move is not more, but less exams, and more time in the outdoors.
In an article for the Guardian, Ben Fogle talks about how the wilderness rescued him after not being one of the types of people who are good at studying and taking exams. They weren’t for him, just like so many other people out there, and it was the outdoors that brought the best out of Ben. It gave him confidence and he was comfortable in the wild, allowing him to ‘be who he is’, and not who others wanted him to be.
Ben goes on to say that “there is a natural simplicity to nature; it is far more tactile and tangible than the classroom. It’s a leveler; it strengthened my character and set me back on track.”
So this is why Ben is such an advocate for focusing our attentions less on injecting money into exams, and instead switching attentions to wellbeing and encouraging our children to connect with the natural world, and as a glamping UK company, we couldn’t agree more, after seeing the positive effects it has on people.
Ben says he’s not implying that we toss exams out the window, just that we should look into other avenues that permit our younger generations to explore and discover what’s around them in the outdoors.
Ben reinforces the fact that evidence highlights connecting with nature is proven to work. Taking a step away from technology and allowing free play in the outdoors is conducive for social and emotional development, as well as the benefits to improving self-awareness, and teaching children to be more co-operative.
A study by the American Medical Association in 2005 found that: “Children will be smarter, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier when they have regular opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-of-doors.” Further to this statement, there is also scientific proof that the wilderness offers a remedy for reducing hyperactivity as well as soothing children in general, particularly for those living with attention deficit disorder.
Ben proclaims that: “We need to bring positivity, health and wellbeing back into our schools. It’s time to turn everything on its head and classrooms inside out.”
He goes on to say: “I want an education system that works inside out. The outdoors becomes a weekly topic – encompassing geography, environment, resourcefulness, home economics, science, and maths – undertaken outside. Classes could be in an inner-city park, scrubland or garden.”
We simply couldn’t agree more, Ben!
Image courtesy of benfogle/Instagram.