Green areas at schools make smarter children

Un nuovo studio finanziato dall’Ue ha dimostrato che la presenza di aree verdi nei pressi delle scuole aumenta le capacità cognitive dei bambini.

Humans are animals and are born to live in contact with nature. However, now more than ever, we distanced ourselves from this primordial condition, with clear effects on our health and psyche. New disorders and illnesses are discovered, due to our society repressing natural impulses and artificially obviating the environmental destruction.


bambini in un prato
Contact with nature boosts children’s cognitive development


The extremely positive effects nature, trees, plants have on our organism are so evident, representing a pillar in preventive medicine. Walking in the woods, for instance, reduces stress and depression, whilst significantly decreasing blood pressure and heart rate.


Proximity to green areas can play a crucial role to children, considering that their key cognitive functions are developed during childhood. A new study found that children living or going to school close to green areas have an improved cognitive development.


The research, funded by the European Union under the BREATHE project (BRain dEvelopment and Air polluTion ultrafine particles in scHool childrEn), has been carried out in Barcelona and has investigated the possible effects of TRAP (Traffic-related Air Pollution) on children’s brain development.


bambini che attraversano strada
Traffic-related air pollution damages cognitive development in children


Researchers have investigated the link between the exposure to nature and children’s memory and attention. Over a year, over 2,600 children of 36 primary schools have been studied.


The research analysed the presence of green spaces close to children’s houses and schools, by using satellite images and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index.


After that data have been collected and combined with variables, researchers have drawn models to evaluate the link between green areas and cognitive development. Results show that a prolonged exposure to nature leads to significant improvements in children: it increases memory by 6% and decreases inattention by 1%.


According to the authors, results are mainly ascribable to the amount of greennes inside and surrounding schools. The presence of trees around schools would also lead to a reduction in traffic-related atmospheric pollution. Analysis show less CO2 levels in schools with greater amount of greenery.


Happy schoolchildren with many books sitting in classroom.
According to the study, contact with nature increases memory by 6% and decreases inattention by 1%


The study reveals an elementary truth, yet demonstrates for the first time the crucial effects of green areas on children’s cognitive development. Improving children’s learning means contributing to educate individuals with greater cognitive abilities, able to understand the importance of nature, which is being destroyed by adults.

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