'No Child Left Inside' Showing Kids More of the Outdoors

By: Jessica Cunnington Email
By: Jessica Cunnington Email

April 22, 2013

Rachel Needham, a senior at The Renaissance School in Charlottesville, has been working all year on her thesis project and hopes the second graders at Greenbrier Elementary School learned it's not just playing on a computer or iPad that can be fun.

"It makes me really happy and I think you can really observe nature around you and that's really cool," said Anna Warren, a 2nd grader at Greenbrier.

And that's just one of the things Needham wanted the students to take away from her 'No Child Left Inside' project.

"They're not getting outside, they're not playing like this outside anymore, but they are spending a lot of time inside using technology," she said. "Computers, cell phones, using them all the time at such a young age so I just wanted to do something that would bring them outside."

She's just 17-years-old but wanted to share her love for the outdoors and the importance of being outside with the next generation of kids.

"Creativity is influenced by access to nature, your ability to think, your attention span, your physical awareness and how well you can sense things are all affected by how much nature you get," Needham said.

After months of research and planning with the staff at Greenbrier Elementary School, through drawings, listening to the sounds of nature and playing games it was 2 hours out of the school day but the principal didn't mind.

"It's important to give kids opportunities to learn from eachother. They enjoy that, they enjoy being outside and happier kids, learn better so that's what we're trying to accomplish," Principal Jim Kyner who agrees with Needham and says kids today don't go outside nearly as much as when he was a kid.

Needham says it's the greatest feeling to see the children having fun and learning something about themselves that can't necessarily be taught in the classroom or inside.


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