Why obsess about re-wilding schools? Because nature make kids better. Again, from the the fantastic book How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature, by the paleontologist Scott D. Sampson:
Plants are good for you, too.... Even a few trees can make a real difference. A remarkable set of studies looked at the effects of trees on residents of two high-rise housing complexes in a low-income Chicago neighborhood.
Compared with residents whose building was surrounded by barren ground, those living in a building with a vew of stands of trees enjoyed substantially lower levels of agression, violence, and reported crime, along with increased effectiveness managing life issues.
Greenery makes a difference. Being around trees, grasses, and shrubs makes us feel more at ease.
The benefits have been shown in kids, too: Sampson cites a study demonstrating reduced stress, reduced depression, improved concentration, and improved problem-solving skills.
These are, of course, the goals of nearly any school, especially of the traditionalist variety!
There's more! Sampsons continues:
Additional kid bonuses arising from nature interactions include greatly reduced symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), improved social interactions, a heightened ability to combat sickness, and a reduction or elimination of bullying.
Greenery, then, could help a school achieve progressivist schools!
Compared to kids confined indoors, children who regularly play in nature show heightened motor control — including balance, coordination, and agility.
They tend to engage more in imaginative and creative play, which in turn fosters language, abstract reasoning, and problem-solving skills, together with a sense of wonder....
Play in outdoor settings also exceeds indoor alternatives in fostering cognitive, emotional, and moral development.
Holy aboriculture, Batman! These are many of our highest goals in starting a new kind of school!
So: filling and surrounding a school with nature seems likely to help us create schools for human flourishing. (Almost makes you think we weren't designed to spend our time in cinder-block rooms lit by flourescent lights, eh?)
But the question still remains: how can we do it?