A new, award-winning documentary called “NaturePlay: Take Childhood Back” takes a close look at the different approaches to early childhood education in the United States and in Scandinavian countries. The film reveals stark contrasts between the U.S. educational system’s focus on test scores and Scandinavia’s nature-based model.
Education expert Sir Ken Robinson encourages kids to get outside in support of Empty Classroom Day, a UK-based initiative to inspire learning and play outside the classroom. Sir Robinson is a vocal proponent of getting kids outside, asserting that learning in the outdoors has many benefits.
NYC announces plans to develop a public park in a neglected 60,000-square-foot site below ground that would become the “world’s first underground park.” The Lowline, as the project is called, would include live plants, piped in sunlight and STEAM-focused youth education programs.
The College of the Canyons Center for Early Childhood Education (ECE) in CA will receive a $300,000 grant to help fund the Center’s Outdoor Classroom project. The project will engage children with learning activities that raise awareness and appreciation for nature by integrating experiential learning into the curriculum. The ECE participates in the Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom Certification Program, a nationwide initiative to integrate the natural world into learning.
In just a week, Pokémon Go has caused a frenzy around the world–and managed to get gamers off of their couches and into the outdoors. Some players even say the augmented reality game is improving their mental health, mood, social anxiety and depression. But is the technology fostering true connections with nature? Rich Louv weighs in on the tech craze.
Kids are more than 70 percent less involved in outdoor activities today than they were ten years ago. Some experts say that play is a public health issue–and that play is crucial for children’s health and well-being.
Primary schools in Delhi are introducing nature and adventure-based learning curriculum aimed at building confidence and leadership skills in kids. The program was inspired by Richard Louv’s writings on nature-deficit disorder and the belief that nature is essential to children’s well-being.
A recent survey of UK parents of children of ages five to 11 finds that instead of fresh air and sunshine, more than half of students will primarily stay indoors this summer. The survey, conducted by the UK-based ‘Room to Grow’ campaign, cites over-protective parents fearful of danger and dirt as the reason. The survey found that 16 percent of parents indicated they would allow their child outdoors unsupervised; and only 26 percent would allow their child to take part in a messy activity without an adult around.
Researchers at Plymouth University and Western Sydney University say that children today are missing out on opportunities to play, explore and exercise outdoors due to busier lifestyles and parental fear of allowing children to play outside unsupervised.
Children & Nature Network Launches Green Schoolyards Initiative to Increase Equitable Access to Green Space for Children
C&NN announces an exciting new initiative aimed at enhancing the health and quality of life for children and families in urban communities. Green Schoolyards for Healthy Communities is an initiative led by the Children & Nature Network in partnership with the National League of Cities Institute for Youth Education and Families. The initiative will engage education leaders, cross-sector practitioners, policy makers and community leaders to promote green schoolyards across the nation.