Kids With Less Structured Activities Perform Better

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Our Monday green news brings you the latest on nutrition, good causes and child education:

kids and food, kindergarden

Photo courtesy of Gremsy

  • Kids with less structured activities perform better as individuals: According to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder recently published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, kids who spend more time in less structured activities such as playing outside, reading books, visiting museums or farms, tend to be more capable to set their own goals and take actions to reach these goals without assistance from parents or other adults. The study also found that children who participate in more structured activities such as soccer practice, piano lessons or homework, had poorer “self-directed executive function,” a measure of the ability to set and reach goals independently. As Yuko Munakata, CU-Boulder psychology and neuroscience Professor and a senior author of the study explained:  “Executive function is extremely important for children, it helps them in all kinds of ways throughout their daily lives, from flexibly switching between different activities rather than getting stuck on one thing, to stopping themselves from yelling when angry, to delaying gratification. Executive function during childhood also predicts important outcomes, like academic performance, health, wealth and criminality, years and even decades later.”
  • Experimental kindergarten in Vietnam engages kids in food cultivation: An experimental kindergarten located in Vietnam’s Dong Nai province and designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects educates and engages young children in food cultivation as part of their curriculum. As Takashi Niwa, co-architect of the project explains: “We swapped the unloving concrete for greener pastures so children can learn the importance of agriculture and their relationship with nature.”  The building complex is set on a triangular site adjacent to a shoe factory,  the structure itself loops in and over with Möbius-like conviction, stopping just short of completing its circuit. The architect refers to an “eco-friendly experience” when describing the coiled external social and learning spaces, which embody the apparent “fluidity” of the school’s alternative education model.

    Farming Kinder, kids and food, kindergarden

    Photo courtesy of Gremsy

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