Dimensions Educational Research Foundation has been conducting research on children’s learning since 1998. The early years of our research began with a multi-disciplinary team from the fields of early childhood, elementary and special education, landscape architecture, architecture, neuropsychology, music, kinesthesiology, science and mathematics.
Initial research focused on the increase in behavioral challenges children were experiencing (e.g. the rise in diagnoses of Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Attention Deficit Disorder), and looked for effective educational strategies to address those issues.
As the multi-disciplinary team analyzed documentation based on direct observation of children, the data analysis kept leading to the benefits of children’s increased connections with the natural world.
Subsequent research and field-testing on effective design of natural outdoor spaces for children was carried out over a five-year period with the same multi-disciplinary team and was based again on direct observation of children’s use of space, as well as data gathered from teacher and administrator interviews.
In recent years, much of the research has focused on children’s skill development in natural outdoor classrooms and has used a teacher as co-researcher model. New research initiatives are launched on an ongoing basis.