Value of the outdoor experience for children

The trend of shifting outdoor facilities to the indoor setting of pre-schools scores well in terms of creative space use in land-scarce Singapore ("Tiny tots getting their outdoor fun indoors"; Jan 27).

However, the initiative might ingrain in our young the mindset that humans are apart from, instead of a part of, nature, and distance them from the environment.

The effects can already be observed in our youth, who appear less comfortable with nature.

The outdoors is a highly viable platform to develop eco-centred citizens, and it is imperative for the Early Childhood Development Agency to reconsider the value of the outdoor experience for our children.

It is important to engage children's curiosity and sense of wonder. Essential motor skills can be developed when children move about in green spaces, and ideas can be derived when they reflect on their experiences.

Research has suggested that nature or open spaces provide valuable physical, mental and psychological benefits for children.

Good work by various agencies such as the National Parks Board and Housing Board has preserved our green spaces in the form of park connectors and neighbourhood parks.

We should ride on these efforts by providing our young with much-needed outdoor experience.

Ahmad Bahktiar Othman

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