LEARN | CONNECT | ACT
Updated: 2 hours 56 min ago
Philadelphia's Adair Elementary School has a new green space, which gives students a great place to play that is environmentally friendly. The schoolyard was revitalized due to the efforts of a partnership among the School District of Philadelphia; the city's Departments of Water and Parks & Recreation; Friends of Adaire, a volunteer group of Fishtown community members; and the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit group working to create parks and protect land to ensure healthy, livable communities. The green schoolyard at the K-8 school will serve and features equipment designed to capture and reuse stormwater, a large rain garden with a nature trail, a toddler playground, and seating where residents can gather.
Better facilities, targeted programming and more marketing are among the recommendations included in a new study of 175 neighborhood parks in 25 major American cities. From 2014 to 2016, researchers from the RAND Corporation, City Parks Alliance, and The Trust for Public Land observed park use, park-based physical activity, and park conditions, as well as the way users felt about their local parks. The study points to tangible ways that cities can encourage residents to use parks more in general, and for physical activity in particular.
A new report on children's health and wellbeing from a U.K. parliamentary group calls for the national curriculum to incorporate physical activity into traditional classroom learning. The group also recommends that the curriculum include high-quality outdoor play and active learning. Among its recommendations is regular training on playtime learning for educators.
Students showed improved behavior as well as increased literacy and math skills two years after a Melbourne primary school introduced more frequent, regular outdoor play breaks into the school day. The radical overhaul of the school timetable allows students six breaks during the day. The initiative was inspired by standard practice in Finland, where it's mandatory for students to take a 15-minute outdoor break every hour.
Citing the evolving needs of working families and a desire to be more inclusive, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced Wednesday that it will begin accepting girls next year. Starting in 2018, the Cub Scouts (the program for seven to 10-year olds) will begin accepting female members. The BSA has not yet announced what female integration into Boy Scout troops (ages 11 to 18) will look like, but does state that girls will have the chance to work toward the highest rank of Eagle Scout beginning in 2019.
A new study from Norway has found clear associations between the amount of time children spend in outdoor play and their progress in school. Among children of ages 4 through 7, researchers observed those who spent more time outside during child care performed better on an executive function assessment and showed fewer inattention-hyperactivity symptoms. The findings were consistent among children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as well as those not diagnosed with ADHD.
The National Recreation and Park Association, Trust for Public Land and mayors from 134 cities launched the 10-Minute Walk to a Park Campaign with the support of 134 mayors from cities across America and from both sides of the political aisle. These mayors signed on during the past year, endorsing the goal of providing every neighborhood with a quality park that improves life for city residents, serves as a safe place for people to gather and adds to the beauty of the city.
A research trial at seven schools in Glasgow, Scotland found that students who were encouraged to create their own games during outdoor free play time were more physically active when compared to time spent in a tradition PE class. The intervention, now a 10-week program, is being rolled out across 118 schools in Glasgow.
According to a report released by the Australian Sporting Commission (ASC), half of the kids in year six in Australian schools haven’t mastered fundamental movement skills, such as throwing, kicking or leaping. The report also demonstrates that four out of five children do not meet the recommendation of one hour of physical activity per day, and many are exceeding sedentary behavior recommendations due too much time on screens.
More than half of parents surveyed in India believe their child has fewer opportunities to play outdoors than they did as a child. The finding was part of a survey of 12,000 parents in 10 countries which found that over half of children globally play outside for one hour or less each day. In response to the decline in the time that children spend outdoors in India, a Delhi-based NGO is calling on teachers across India to take part in the global Outdoor Classroom Day campaign on October 12th.
The city of Abilene, Texas has plans for a new nature play and educational area for all age groups. The nature play area plans include a canopy walk that allows children to experience treetop ecosystems, sand pits where replica dinosaur bones may be discovered, bouldering hillsides, prairie and wildflower restoration, organic walls, and a bird blind for viewing wildlife habitats. A key component of the project will be the training of over 100 early childhood caregivers and educators using the nationally-recognized, Growing Up WILD early childhood education program that encourages connections to nature as well as hands-on learning to improve school readiness.
A clinical psychologist and tech wellness expert warns that kids today are exchanging outdoor time for gaming time, the result of which may cause structural changes in their brains as well as behavioral changes. Dr. Lisa Strohman says that science shows a direct correlation between the amount of time kids spend online with changes in their developing brains. She encourages families to adopt healthy guidelines for tech.
According to a recent survey, the vast majority of Canadians (95 per cent) agree that access to community green space will be important to their quality of life in the future, but three-quarters feel that their local green space could be better. These are two of the key findings of TD Bank Group's GreenSights Report, part of the TD Common Ground Project, an initiative focused on revitalizing over 150 community green spaces across Canada in recognition of the country's 150th year. To gather insights, TD commissioned a national poll, surveying 1500 Canadians, and hosted the TD Common Ground Think Tank, a roundtable bringing together a select group of green space experts to share their perspectives and discuss what is needed to create heathy, vibrant and inclusive spaces for future generations of Canadians.
Psychologists at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia found that users, particularly children, who plug themselves into social media showed an inability to read facial emotions and had poor friendships as a result. The study compared 200 people who grew up without Facebook to those who have had social media as a part of their lives while growing up.
A nature play program at the Denver Zoo has earned the Significant Achievement Award in Education from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The “Nurturing Scientists through Nature Play” program brings science learning to life for three target audiences — underserved preschool children, ages 3 to 5, their caregivers and their teachers. While at the Zoo’s 70-acre “classroom,” kids are able to use their exploration and discovery skills in largely unstructured play, using objects found in nature such as sticks, rocks and grass.
A new survey in the U.K. suggests the teenagers today are far more sedentary than their parents were at the same age. The study found that the number of young teenagers who play outside has dropped dramatically over the years. The research is part of a wider study into the “challenges and opportunities” faced by children in a world of rapidly evolving technology.
The National Park Service will offer free admission to parks across the country Saturday, Sept. 30, as part of National Public Lands Day. National Public Lands Day, held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. Volunteers are encouraged to spend the day outdoors giving back to their communities by pulling invasive plants, maintaining trails or picking up trash.
The Colorado town of Westminster is building a $3.7 million-playground for its community with the hope of bringing children back to nature by bringing nature to them. The nature playground, which is expected to open next summer, will feature a sand area, a water area and a series of tree houses connected by bridges, covering nearly a third of the park. The play area will be constructed almost entirely with natural materials.
Research to be presented at the 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition finds that green schoolyards bring families and communities together in a healthy environment. C&NN Board Member, Dr. Stephen Pont, will present the abstract. For this study, researchers summarized the peer-reviewed scientific literature documenting green schoolyard benefits to academic outcomes, beneficial play, physical activity, and mental health.
Take a Child Outside Week will kick off on September 24th. The annual event, founded by Liz Baird of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, is marked in all 50 states and four other countries. The week’s events are designed to help kids get out and explore the natural world. Many events are offered by state and local park systems.