The Effects of the Natural Environment and Classroom On-Task Behavior
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This Action Research Study is designed to evaluate the effect that brief exposure to the natural environment every day before class has on classroom on-task behavior. In comparative studies, nature has shown to have a positive effect on energy, cognitive abilities, attention, self-esteem, and overall health. However, it is uncertain if these effects are immediate or are caused by total immersion in the natural environment over a long period of time. This research took place in a suburban public Montessori school classroom with 20 students, ranging in age from 9 to 11 years old. This study analyzed data from a survey given to classroom students, before and after an eight-week observation period. Additionally, observations of on-task behavior, number of redirections required during a work period, and student attendance were collected by the researcher. By exposing children to the natural environment for a brief period before each school day, the on-task behavior of student increased and the number of redirections required by the classroom teacher decreased. The frequency of student tardiness also decreased on weeks when students began the day outside.