Trees set sixth-graders up for success

trees set sixth graders up for success

Sumary of Trees set sixth-graders up for success:

  • “Hundreds of studies show a positive link between contact with nature and learning outcomes, but the studies on nature near schools focus on young children or older learners..
  • says Ming Kuo, associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at Illinois..
  • Even after taking a whopping 17 variables into account including student demographics, school resources, and neighborhood characteristics, Kuo and her co-authors found that the more tree cover around a school, the better its standardized test scores in both math and reading..
  • The study included 450 middle schools and nearly 50,000 students in urban, suburban, and rural communities in Washington State..
  • Samantha Klein, a master’s student who worked with Kuo on the study, made a point to compare different kinds of vegetation at different distances from schools..
  • “We wanted to offer concrete guidance to landscape architects, principals, and school boards interested in putting the greenness-achievement link to work, giving them clues as to what should be planted, and where,”.
  • So if school districts could get away with just putting grass everywhere, that would be really helpful to know,”.
  • Still, Kuo emphasizes that compared with other school resource investments planting trees around a schoolyard is still an incredibly cheap and effective intervention..
  • But it could take a sea change before school districts accept school greening when other demands seem so much more pressing..
  • “I think school boards have always been faced with distributing very limited funds, especially in the poorest areas..
  • They might think that, with all the other pressing needs for funding, school landscaping is the least of their concerns..
  • They compared the importance of greenness in different buffer zones around schools, within 250 meters (around two blocks) and 1000 meters..
  • It turned out trees closer to the schools made all the difference, even when controlling for greenness at farther distances..
  • In other words, even if the larger neighborhood was leafy, students were no better off if the schoolyard wasn’t…

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