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 outside 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 Center for Early Childhood Education (ECE) in CA receives 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 get outside. 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.
With kids over 70 percent less involved in outdoor activities today than they were ten years ago, some experts argue that play is a public health issue. They say it is crucial to understand play's benefits for children's health and well-being.
Some primary schools in Delhi are introducing a nature and adventure-based learning program to their 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 letting children outside unsupervised.
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.
A joint effort between Stanford’s School of Medicine and the Specialized Foundation, a nonprofit launched by the founder of Specialized bicycles, seeks to improve our knowledge about the effects of exercise on children with ADHD. Past studies, including one Specialized did with a neuroscience consulting group, have shown exercise (and cycling in particular) has promise as a treatment for kids diagnosed with ADHD.
In an effort to enhance child development, curiosity and independent exploration, the State Government in South Australia is providing grants to all public preschools to add nature play to their curriculum. The schools may use the funding towards equipment or the development of areas that encourage outdoor physical activity. Education and Child Development Minister Susan Close says active learning and play was shown to increase children’s curiosity, problem-solving abilities and independent exploration.
A new study from the University of Southern California finds that urban teenagers who grow up with more green space in the vicinity of their homes are less likely to be aggressive. The researchers followed 1,287 adolescents from 640 families in the Greater Los Angeles region, both male and female, from mixed ethnic backgrounds over the time span of 2000 to 2012.
Officials in Canberra in Australia launch a new initiative called Nature Play CBR to encourage less screen time and more green time by showing kids that playing outdoors is fun. Sport and Recreation Minister Yvette Berry says the initiative was a chance to bring children back to nature. The government initiative was based on a successful West Australian model that promotes less screen time and more green time to foster a lifelong love of the great outdoors.
The North Face announced its 2016 Explore Fund grant recipients: 45 nonprofit organizations working in powerful and creative ways to engage and inspire people through outdoor experiences. In collaboration with the National Park Foundation, special consideration was given to organizations that activate programs in national parks and federally managed lands. C&NN's National Leaders Network is a proud recipient of a grant to train and empower diverse youth leaders to learn, serve and work on federal lands.
In honor of National Parks Recreation Month this July, organizations in Michigan are encouraging kids and their families to “Get Out and Play” at outdoor events around the state. “Get Out and Play” is a free event series intended to get kids outside to enjoy outdoor activities in the state.
Saint Paul's Sun Ray Library was recently selected as an Environmental Initiative Award-winner in the community action category for its Nature-Smart Library project. The project, a collaboration with the Children and Nature Network, aims to use the library as a nature connector for children growing up in an urban setting.
The time that kids spend engaged in outdoor physical activity is time well spent, according to 24 researchers from 8 countries. The researchers, representing a variety of academic disciplines, gathered in Denmark recently to look at fitness and health, intellectual performance, engagement, motivation, well-being and social inclusion in 6 to 18 year-olds in school and during leisure time.
The City of Calgary is piloting a free mobile adventure playground this summer. The playground comes complete with a variety of materials and loose parts such as boards, tires, tape and cardboard that children are free to use to build, demolish, assemble and change as they desire in five city parks. The playgrounds will rotate on a weekly basis through the parks of North Glenmore Park, Canyon Meadows, Canmore Park, Riley Park and Forest Lawn.
Climate change, the economic benefits of National Parks and the role of the next generation in protecting public lands were the focus of President Obama's speech during his visit last week to Yellowstone National Park. Participants of Fresh Tracks, a leadership development and cultural exchange program, were among the attendees at the event. Fresh Tracks is a joint initiative of C&NN's Natural Leaders, the Sierra Club, Islandwood, REI and Zumiez.