ISB students get a nature boost from the Environmental Wilderness Campus
According to a recent study by the University of Exeter, a walk in the park gives you more than just a feeling of wellbeing and a spring in your step. Research findings from over 20,000 people have revealed dramatic psychological and physical health benefits for people who spend more than 2 hours outdoors each week.
Consensus opinion for the positive health benefits of connecting with nature continues to grow. Research has shown that being in a calm, natural environment can reduce anxiety, improve mood, increase self-esteem and enhance immune system performance.
Healthy environments for healthy development
Whilst spending time in nature is beneficial for people of all ages, it is especially important in the development of children. A report from the US National Wildlife Federation notes that outdoor play improves fitness, raises Vitamin D levels and protects children from disease. Remarkably, outdoor play can improve vision and reduce the likelihood of becoming near-sighted.
Aside from enhancing children’s health, getting acquainted with the natural world also brings educational rewards. Students that have access to environmental education programs tend to perform better on tests for reading, writing, listening, mathematics, and critical thinking. Outdoor education gives students the willingness to take on new challenges, as well as the confidence to adapt and perform in a variety of unfamiliar environments.
When receiving outdoor education students soon understand their indoor learning is readily applicable outside the classroom. By working to solve real life problems in a wilderness setting students also learn more about themselves. Outdoor education takes students outside of their comfort zone in a safe environment that exercises their awareness, determination, resourcefulness and resilience.
ISB’s Environmental Wilderness Campus
At ISB’s Environmental Wilderness Campus (EWC) students are given the opportunity to learn about our natural environment and discover ways of living sustainably within it. Trips to the EWC run throughout the year, where our students develop a greater understanding about the wonders of Thailand’s natural world alongside instruction in important outdoor survival skills. In addition to rock climbing and kayaking, our students visit the local botanical gardens and conduct geographical, biological, environmental systems field studies of the surrounding area.
Learning outside the classroom
The EWC is also a base for our Wild Panthers outdoor education program for Middle School students. In this program students undertake an expedition lasting three days and two nights. The expedition challenges students to build character and social competency through a wide range of outdoor activities. The EWC invites our learners to expand their boundaries and discover their potential. The supervision of a dedicated team of internationally accredited outdoor education experts ensures these challenging programs are conducted within a safe and natural setting.
The nature of outdoor education demands students maintain a higher degree of consideration and preparedness. Challenging scenarios and unpredictable environmental factors require students to apply their knowledge while thinking on their feet. Each exercise concludes with a review and reflection on the decisions taken and what learning can be taken away. The skills practiced are readily transferable to many areas of both a student’s education and personal development.
Towards a well-rounded education
Living in a large modern metropolis like Bangkok can be limiting for children. These tailor-made recreational and educational programs at the EWC provide students a vital antidote through a deep connection with nature and a positive inner balance.
Elliott Bowyer, Outdoor Education Director at ISB says: “By taking learning into the outdoors, we help students discover more about themselves and their peers. As student teams work to solve real-life problems, their minds begin to form new links between typical subject areas and various situations outside the classroom. This ability to apply knowledge in new contexts is one of the most valuable skills young people can learn, as it prepares them for whatever the future may bring.”