Professional Practice

Children: Cognition

Health Benefits of Nature Header

According to Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., our brains fatigue within minutes of a deluge of stimulus. So if a child is confronted with too much stimulus, their brains will lose the ability of focus and learn.

How Nature Helps

A study published in the journal, Environment & Behavior, says that spending even a short amount of time outside is restorative and reverses those temporary issues of fatigue and concentration issues. If your kids are having trouble concentrating, take them for a walk in the park. 


"Student Performance and High School Landscapes: Examining the Links," Landscape and Urban Planning, 2010
"Children with Attention Deficits Concentrate Better After Walk in the Park," Journal of Attention Disorders, 2009

The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting with Nature,” Psychological Science, 2008

"At Home with Nature: Effects of “Greenness” on Children’s Cognitive Functioning," Environment & Behavior, 2000

Views to Nature: Effects on Attention,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, 1995  

Children-Cognition-Manassas-Park.jpg ASLA 2011 Professional General Design Honor Award, Manassas Park Elementary School Landscape, Manassas Park, Virginia, Siteworks / Image credit: Siteworks


"How the Brain Learns Best," Scholastic via Instructor


National Environmental Education Foundation

Outdoor Nation

Role of the Landscape Architect

Landscape architects recognize that importance that green space can have on people and design school landscapes accordingly.

Manassas Park Elementary School in Virginia has a sunken bio-retention garden with ample opportunity for seating, and a forest courtyard with shade trees, ferns and logs for seating, all of which give the children places to refocus.

Urban parks like Shelby Farms Park in Memphis provide places for play and exploration, which are important for the ability to learn and grow. 

Case Studies

Manassas Park Elementary School Landscape, Manassas Park, Virginia, Siteworks

Shelby Farms Park, Memphis, Tennessee, James Corner Field Operations



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