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A new study out of Finland shows that adding natural elements to a preschool playground improved the immune systems of the three to five year old attending students.

The study, coordinated by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), added forest undergrowth, lawn turf and planter boxes to a playground that had minimal natural elements. Doing so diversified the organ system’s microbes in the children including increasing gammaproteobacteria, which strengthen the skin’s immune defense; increasing the content of the multifunctional TGF-β1-cytokine in blood; and reducing the content of interleukin-17A, which is connected to immune-transmitted diseases. 

According to Aki Sinkkonen, who led the study at Luke: “The yard areas of all daycare centers should be transformed into green areas, because this will improve the regulation of children’s immune system in only a month. What is more, children’s motor skills and ability to concentrate will improve, and they will have a close relationship with nature.”

Read the study at Luke.fi
Photo credit: Waldorf School of Garden City

  • Nature and Environment