Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of Valrico, FL, aims for all the children enrolled at the educational preschool to have the opportunity to grow physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually by playing, exploring, and learning with others in a fun, safe, and healthy environment. The staff and teachers, working in conjunction with the parents and caregivers, fulfill this mission by addressing the whole child.
Studies confirm that children benefit from exposure to outdoor levels of illumination which far exceed the lighting level in a typical classroom. Bright light, which improves mood and concentration, may help prevent disease, circadian rhythm disorders, and nearsightedness. Breaking research indicates that bright light has a significant effect on the brain and may foster the formation of new nerve endings and improve learning.
Comparison of outdoor daylight and artificial indoor lighting
- Sunny day: 100,000 lux (A unit for measuring light)
- Cloudy: 10,000-40,000 lux
- Overcast and gloomy: 1,000 lux
- Brightly lit classroom: 500 lux
- Watching TV in the den: 50 lux
Indoor lighting is dramatically less than outdoor sunlight, which is disconcerting. The bright light levels found outside benefit children. Consider the following benefits of sunlight and bright light.
Benefit: Bright light offers positive effects on mood.
Bright light has an animating effect on people. The mood is elevated by bright light, and bright light therapy can effectively provide some relief for depression.
Benefit: Daily exposure to bright light of 15,000 lux or higher may protect children from developing myopia.
According to research on the matter, outdoor playtime decreases the risk of developing nearsightedness. Reasons are not entirely understood for the decrease, but the effects of exposure to light seem to be the source of the improved eyesight.
Benefit: Sunlight helps children generate good levels of vitamin D.
Sufficient amounts of vitamin D helps protect children from a wide range of unwanted health conditions. Low levels of vitamin D can put children at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, poor bone health, and a reduction in the function of the muscles. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to a decrease in mental planning skills or brain fog.
Benefit: Sunlight may keep children from having multiple sclerosis (MS) when they grow up.
Numerous studies link high levels of sunlight exposure during childhood to a reduced risk of MS. Sunlight, apart from vitamin D, maybe the agent that helps stave off MS.
Benefit: Exposure to bright morning sunlight can help prevent delayed bedtimes.
Children who have been out in the sunlight seem to be more prone to go to sleep earlier and less prone to experience sleep-related behavior problems. Parents should be aware that delayed bedtimes may not have a negative impact as long as wake-up times are later. However, when children must rise early for school, delayed bedtimes and the corresponding lack of sleep can negatively impact children. Research seems to suggest that delayed bedtimes and lack of sleep are linked with poor academic performance and behavior problems. Catch up sleep, such as a nap, can help to overcome the effects of a sleep deficit.
Why do kids fail to go to sleep on schedule? Part of the problem stems from lighting. There is exposure to too little sunlight during the day and exposure to excessive amounts of artificial lighting at night. Children’s circadian rhythms are out of rhythm with a twenty-four-hour day.
Some practical and easy solutions that can be implemented include:
- Avoiding artificial lighting at night.
- Stopping the use of electronic devices an hour before bedtime.
- Getting a dose of bright morning light helps kids with chronic bedtime problems get back on track.
Does daylight make children smarter?
Consider the following research:
- Vitamin D is beneficial for mental planning skills.
- Late bedtimes resulting from too little bright sunlight can increase attention problems.
- Exposure to bright light might improve mental performance.
- Bright lights elevate mood, which could be an important motivator at school.
- Children involved in a recent study preferred brightly lit classrooms (1,300 to 4,400 lux) to poorly lit classrooms (250-740 lux).
Bright lighting has additional benefits:
- Children read more fluently in classrooms that have very bright lighting.
- Recent experiments suggest that bright light may have a direct effect on the ability to learn. Removing bright light and keeping children indoors in dimly lit rooms might lead to learning deficits.
It is important that children be exposed to bright sunlight and bright artificial lighting in the classroom. Parents, preschool teachers, and caregivers have something to gain by going the extra mile to ensure that every child receives his or her time in the sun.
Precautions do need to be taken against harmful UVB rays. Hats and sunscreen are vital protective gear when sunlight is intense. Children need daylight for their health and overall well-being because research suggests that enjoying nature and being outdoors is intrinsically beneficial.
For more information about the Valrico, FL, preschool, contact Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of Valrico, FL, by phone at (813) 657-6200.