In the age of smartphones, tablets, and e-readers, we seem to be constantly connected to our devices. Even our education system is relying more heavily on the advancements in digital technology. With all of these kids being plugged into the digital world, it can be difficult to find ways to help them connect to the natural world around them.
Rome-based design team, aut-,-aut, and many innovative thinking schools around the world believe that it’s time to get children offline, and connect them back to nature.
With this idea in mind, the aut-,-aut team conceptualized a preschool that takes children out of the traditional classroom, and into a more outdoor setting. The proposal, titled “Nursery Field Forever”, says that the school itself would feature open spaces that would allow for garden plots and livestock pens. The focus of this plan is to have children learn through practical engagement with farming and animal-raising rather than more traditional concepts.
Lead designer, Edoardo Capuzzo Dolcetta told Fast Company. “We tried to make a different way to learn. So not reading a book, or listening to a teacher, but experience directly based on practice.”
The proposal recently received first prize in the AWR International Ideas Competition for it’s practicality and forward-thinking. The designers on the team, comprised of Edoardo Capuzzo Dolcetta, Gabriele Capobianco, Jonathan Lazar, and Davide Troiani, hope that by teaching children about sustainable farming practices, renewable energy, and animal enrichment that it would help to cultivate healthier lifestyles from an early age.
“We think that kids should enjoy nature,” says Capuzzo. “So we designed this strange school: No classrooms, but open spaces where vegetables grow inside and animals can come in too. It’s a mixing of the two things, school and nature.”
Now, that’s an idea that I think everyone can get behind. Check out the design team’s winning proposal below.