In our age of constant digital contact, connecting kids to nature seems more difficult than ever. Fortunately, intrepid thinkers, like aut- -aut, a team of Rome-based designers, are envisioning innovative ways to bring children closer to nature. Aut- -aut, which comprises Edoardo Capuzzo Dolcetta, Gabriele Capobianco, Davide Troiani, and Jonathan Lazar, recently won the AWR International Ideas Competition with “Nursery Fields Forever,” a proposal that fuses urban farming with nursery education.
Part farm and part school, “Nursery Fields Forever” offers three approaches to learning: learning from nature, learning from technique, and learning from practice. “We think that kids should enjoy nature,” said Edoardo Capuzzo Dolcetta to Fast Company. “So we designed this strange school: No classrooms, but open spaces where vegetables grow inside and animals can come in too. It’s a mixing of the two things, school and nature.” The school is designed as a cluster of gabled buildings that overlook a variety of garden plots and livestock pens.
Teaching children how to grow and harvest their own food, as well as how to interact with animals, could help kids improve their social skills through teamwork, encourage self-esteem, and promote healthy lifestyles. The students would also learn about renewable energy from onsite wind turbines and solar arrays.