• The World Is Our Classroom

    by Cindy Ross Year Published: 2018

    School teachers are largely bound by classroom walls and the internet, parents have no such constraints. As Cindy Ross reveals in The World is Our Classroom the unbounded opportunities in nature should inspire every parent to create memories and powerful experiential learning opportunities. Significant emotional encounters can be transformative. When children are allowed to explore, and use their curiosity to discover the seemingly magical things in nature, it changes them as no passive learning can. In this rapidly changing world, we must foster a love of nature in every child as they must soon confront profound ecological disruption and play a vital role in restoring, replenishing and relocating elements of biodiversity to retain some aspect of system integrity upon which all life depends.

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  • Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide

    by Carolyn Kolstad, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Year Published: 2011

    A planning guide for creating schoolyard habitat and outdoor classroom projects.  This is your guide book to transforming your school grounds into a place that engages the entire school community in habitat restoration. You are a part of a national movement dedicated to developing a citizenry that consciously values their environment. Once you move through this process, your school community will connect to the natural world, not by sitting inside and looking out, but instead by being outside and looking deeper. This is a how-to guide. It will take you and your students through each step of the process: planning, installing and sustaining a project. This is not a book about why schoolyard projects are important; this is a guide about how to make the best one for your site.

    https://www.fws.gov/external-affairs/marketing-communications/printing-and-publishing/publications/3012-Schoolyard-Habitat-Guide.pdf 

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  • Delaware Environmental Literacy Plan

    by DE Children in Nature Coalition Year Published: 2012

    Children and adults benefit from quality time spent outdoors. Going outside is the first step in taking advantage of “meaningful outdoor experiences” across Delaware’s incredible resources. The Children in Nature Coalition promotes quality time outdoors to increase environmental literacy of all Delawareans. First, we understand that parents and family members greatly influence a child’s values, beliefs and attitudes. Adults are the gatekeepers to parks, beaches, trails and nature centers, or perhaps it is only with a parent’s permission that a child can gain access to an opportunity to be outside. If adults embrace this notion and engage in meaningful outdoor experiences, they reap the benefits of a healthy, active and informed lifestyle along with the children they influence. Secondly, we desire teachers and administrators who support environmental and outdoor field work at all levels. Outdoor experiences help develop critical and creative thinking for all students to be college and career ready.

    http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/cin/Documents/2015-environmental-literacy-plan.pdf

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  • Greener Childhood Associated With Happier Adulthood

    by Jonathan Lambert, NPR Year Published: 2019

    Access To Parks In Childhood Associated With Better Adult Mental Health.  A study published Monday in the journal PNAS details what the scientists say is the largest investigation of the association between green spaces and mental health.  Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark found that growing up near vegetation is associated with an up to 55 percent lower risk of mental health disorders in adulthood.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/02/25/697788559/greener-childhood-associated-with-happier-adulthood

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  • The Nature of Americans: Disconnection and Recommendations for Reconnection

    by Dr. Stephen R. Kellert Year Published: 2017

    The relationship of Americans and nature is changing. Adults and children alike spend evermore time indoors, participation in activities like hunting and fishing is stagnant or declining, and shifts in social expectations treat engagement with nature as a mere amenity. These trends pose a nationwide problem, since overwhelming evidence shows the physical, psychological, and social wellbeing of humans depends on contact with nature.

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  • Natural Playscapes

    by Rusty Keeler Year Published: 2008

    This book is about a new movement in children's outdoor play areas, natural playscapes -- Where the entire space and is filled with art, hills, pathways, trees, herbs, open areas, sand, water, music, and more -- Where children find places to run, climb, dig, pretend, and hide, with opportunities to bellow or be silent.

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  • Seasons of Play: Natural Environments of Wonder

    by Rusty Keeler Year Published: 2016

    Recent research has drawn the link between children's brain development and time spent in the natural environment. Every child deserves a safe play to play, supportive adults to watch him grow, and an environment that offers her endless possibilities. In Seasons of Play, Rusty Keeler takes readers on a photographic journey through real child care centers that have embraced his philosophy that natural play environments create new opportunities for children to explore and grow. Seasons of Play promotes play among natural elements.

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  • Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant

    by Peter Gray Year Published: 2013

    Click here to hear directly from the author.

    In Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that our children, if free to pursue their own interests through play, will not only learn all they need to know, but will do so with energy and passion. Children come into this world burning to learn, equipped with the curiosity, playfulness, and sociability to direct their own education. Yet we have squelched such instincts in a school model originally developed to indoctrinate, not to promote intellectual growth.

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  • Last Child in the Woods

    by Richard Louv Year Published: 2005

    In this influential work about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.

    Last Child in the Woods is the first book to bring together a new and growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions and simple ways to heal the broken bond—and many are right in our own backyard.

     

    Click here to hear from Brother Yusuf Burgess, a hero who imparted his love of nature to children.

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  • A History of Children's Play and Play Environments: Toward a Contemporary Child-Saving Movement

    by Dr. Joe L. Frost Year Published: 2010

    Children’s play throughout history has been free, spontaneous, and intertwined with work, set in the playgrounds of the fields, streams, and barnyards. Children in cities enjoyed similar forms of play but their playgrounds were the vacant lands and parks. Today, children have become increasingly inactive, abandoning traditional outdoor play for sedentary, indoor cyber play and poor diets. The consequences of play deprivation, the elimination and diminution of recess, and the abandonment of outdoor play are fundamental issues in a growing crisis that threatens the health, development, and welfare of children.

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  • Children and Nature

    by Peter H. Kahn, JR., and Stephen R. Kellert Year Published: 2002

    For much of human evolution, the natural world was one of the most important contexts of children's maturation. Indeed, the experience of nature was, and still may be, a critical component of human physical, emotional, intellectual, and even moral development. Yet scientific knowledge of the significance of nature during the different stages of childhood is sparse. This book provides scientific investigations and thought-provoking essays on children and nature.

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  • The Great Outdoors: Restoring Children's Right to Play Outside

    by Mary S. Rivkin Year Published: 1999

    For many school-age children, outdoor experiences are very limited. The author compellingly argues for ensuring that children have outdoor play and learning opportunities, describes exciting playgrounds in the U.S. and other countries, and provides practical information on safety, accessibility, and curriculum.

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  • Moving the Classroom Outdoors

    by Herbert W. Broda Year Published: 2011

    Designed to provide teachers and administrators with a range of practical suggestions for making the schoolyard a varied and viable learning resource, Moving the Classroom Outdoors presents concrete examples of how urban, suburban, and rural schools have enhanced the school site as a teaching tool. Herb focuses on the practical and the specific, including ideas for seating, signage, planting considerations, teaching/meeting areas, outdoor classroom management, pathways, equipment storage, raised gardens, and more. The book also provides an outdoor activity sampler, information on incorporating technology into the outdoor learning experience, and a chapter on the unique concerns of urban schools.
    Moving the Classroom Outdoors: Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning in Action is filled with examples of model schools, innovative ideas, and inspiring people.

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  • Into the Field

    by The Orion Society Year Published: 1996

    Into the Field provides teachers with curriculum ideas for engaging students in the natural and cultural history of their communities. The book is both theoretical and practical, combining pedagogical background on why field work enhances educational experiences with the nuts and bolts details of how one gets started.

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  • Beyond Ecophobia

    by David Sobel Year Published: 1996

    Beyond Ecophobia speaks to teachers, parents, and others interested in nurturing in children the ability to understand and care deeply for nature from an early age. This expanded version of one of Orion's most popular articles includes descriptions of developmentally appropriate environmental education activities and a list of related children's books.

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  • Food Not Lawns

    by H.C. Flores Year Published: 2006

    Food Not Lawns combines practical wisdom on ecological design and community-building with a fresh, green perspective on an age-old subject.  Flores cares passionately about the damaged state of our environment and the ills of our throwaway society. In Food Not Lawns, she shows us how to reclaim the earth one garden at a time.

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