In a world where devices and entertainment are seemingly aimed at keeping us in the house, getting outside may be a key to our -- and our kids' -- success.
A new study led by Chih-Da Wu, a scientist at the National Chiayi University in Taiwan and a visiting scientist at Harvard's Department of Environmental Health, suggests that the kids at schools surrounded by greenery tend to do better in language arts and math.
The study used satellite imagery to look at the "greenness" level (officially the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) of 905 public schools in Massachusetts from 2006 to 2012, and compared them to the percentage of third-graders who scored "above Proficient" in English and math on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System standardized test. Greenness levels were calculated using a 250-meter to 2000-meter radius around the schools.
What they found was a significant correlation between a school's greenery level and their student's performance on the MCAS. The correlation was particularly strong when looking at greenness levels in March, which is around the time that student's take the MCAS.
Nature has been widely noted to play a key role in our mental health, so it probably comes as no surprise that it also affects the way we, and our kids, learn. So the next time your kid asks to watch "Spongebob," "Curious George," or whatever happens to be on Amazon, Hulu or Netflix, take them for a walk instead.
Their brains will thank you. Eventually. After they have a tantrum or two.