Ulset and her research team investigated links between time spent outside and cognitive development. The team conducted a study in Norway that “examined the . . . relations between the amount of time children [average age when study began was 52 months] attending daycare spend outdoors [in naturalistic settings] and their cognitive and behavioral development during preschool and first grade. . . . analyses showed a positive relation between outdoor hours and [development of attention skills] and an inverse relation between outdoor hours and [inattention-hyperactivity symptoms]. . . .
Children and adults respond in different ways to their environments. Sloutsky and Plebanek “found that adults were very good at remembering information they were told to focus on, and ignoring the rest. In contrast, 4- to 5-year-olds tended to pay attention to all the information that was presented to them – even when they were told to focus on one particular item. . . . The fact that children don’t always do as well at focusing attention also shows the importance of designing the right learning environment in classrooms, Sloutsky said. ‘Children can’t handle a lot of distractions.
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