Saturday, 16 September 2017

Get children outdoors to play and learn, on Outdoor Classroom day and all year round!

Get children outdoors to play and learn, on Outdoor Classroom day and all year round!


Don't forget to sign up for Outdoor Classroom Day - 112/10/2017. Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. On the day, thousands of schools around the world take lessons outdoors and prioritise playtime.

Green schoolyards offer physical and mental health benefits for children | EurekAlert! Science News

Green schoolyards offer physical and mental health benefits for children | EurekAlert! Science News

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above


Green schoolyards offer an opportunity for children to experience a healthy outdoor environment as part of their daily lives. After school hours, they provide value to the entire community through improved health, higher rates of community and family engagement, and increased opportunities for active outdoor play and relaxation.


"Too many children have no access to quality school grounds. In many neighborhoods, the standard play space is a barren asphalt playground or a concrete slab surrounded by chain link fence--a completely unsuitable environment for children's play." says Richard Louv

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Risk in Play and Learning — ISGA

Risk in Play and Learning — ISGA

The full research paper can be read through the hyperlink above

An interesting piece from the International School Grounds Alliance

“School grounds should not be as safe as possible but as safe as necessary. Since the world is full of risks, children need to learn to recognize and respond to them in order to protect themselves and to develop their own risk-assessment capabilities.”— Risk in Play and Learning: Ubud-Höör Declaration, International School Grounds Alliance

While promoting risk-taking on school grounds may raise questions of liability for schools and concerns for parents it is essential for the development of healthy young people, according to a declaration released September 4, 2017 by the International School Grounds Alliance (ISGA). This declaration is endorsed by all 54 of ISGA's Leadership Council members, representing 38 organizations from 16 countries and six continents.

Social and emotional health are important benefits of school gardens | MSU Extension

Social and emotional health are important benefits of school gardens | MSU Extension

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above

For example, at study by Habib and Doherty in 2007 show that large number of students report “that they feel ‘calm,’ ‘safe’, and ‘relaxed’ in the school garden.”

Additionally, children who work in gardens are more likely to accept people different from themselves, according to Dyment & Bell, 2006. Moreover, a study of third, fourth and fifth graders by Robinson & Zajicek in 2005 showed that students participating in a garden program had increased self-understanding, interpersonal skills and cooperative skills when compared to non-gardening students.

All of those studies show improvements in pro-social behavior that is important to children being happy with themselves and with others.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Environmental Health Perspectives – Nature Contact and Human Health: A Research Agenda

Environmental Health Perspectives – Nature Contact and Human Health: A Research Agenda

The full research paper can be read through the hyperlink above

"According to the best available evidence, nature contact offers considerable promise in addressing a range of health challenges, including many, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression, and anxiety, that are public health priorities. Nature contact offers promise both as prevention and as treatment across the life course. Potential advantages include low costs relative to conventional medical interventions, safety, practicality, not requiring dispensing by highly trained professionals, and multiple cobenefits. Few medications can boast these attributes."

New Public Health Wales reports says nearly a third of under-fives aren’t getting enough outdoor play

New Public Health Wales reports says nearly a third of under-fives aren’t getting enough outdoor play

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above

“There is increasing concern about the mental and physical health of children and young people. Research suggests that given the opportunity, children get wide-ranging exercise as well as a significant mental health benefits from freely chosen play.

“Children start their active lives through play. When given the opportunity to play, children are likely to be physically active by running, jumping, dancing, climbing, digging, lifting, pushing and pulling. For children, play can also be fun and relaxing, a way of relieving or having time away from anxiety and stress.”

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Six winning "Playsages" for the 2017 International Garden Festival in Reford Gardens

Six winning "Playsages" for the 2017 International Garden Festival in Reford Gardens

The full research paper can be read through the hyperlink above

Quebec is still in the middle of winter, but the iconic Reford Gardens ..are already looking forward to warmer days ahead for the 2017 International Garden Festival this summer. In response to the all-too-familiar “nature-deficit disorder” in society these days, participants in this year's competition had to create inventive “Playsages” that would inspire, if not remind, today's tech-savvy kids to spend more time outdoors.

Outdoors and Active: Delivering public health outcomes by increasing children’s active travel and outdoor play. University of Bristol, UK

Microsoft Word - Briefing A4 booklet_print services.docx

The full research paper can be read through the hyperlink above

"This simple, low cost resident led intervention has immediate and long term benefits for children and the wider community. With widespread uptake, there is potential to   change the culture towards outdoor neighbourhood play being a normal part of  everyday life across the UK."

A study of kids’ screen time explains the vicious cycle that makes parents unable to say no — Quartz

A study of kids’ screen time explains the vicious cycle that makes parents unable to say no — Quartz

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above













“It’s like giving a kid a little bit of cocaine and telling them to be careful,” she says. In the survey, parents reported their kids spending nearly 19 hours a week in front of screens, more than two-and-a-half times the recommended dosage of media time—and Bernstein assumes that parents wildly underestimate their kids screen time.

“Kids should be involved in imaginative play but tech is the best babysitter in the world,” she says. One major benefit of the tech used for screen time: it’s a sunk cost. In other words, once you buy the device, and the necessary subscriptions, you don’t have to pay an ongoing rate. That’s much cheaper than hiring a human babysitter. But once kids are addicted, many parents feel it’s hard to get them un-addicted.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Free resource material - Natural play, playspaces and gardening with children - Part 2

 All materials are free to download and where it is a copy of someone else's creation I have given appropriate attribution





Playground Maintenance for Playspaces




A comprehensive guide to the inspection and maintenance of playgrounds, playspaces and playscapes. The guide includes an all-inclusive inspection checklist as well as reporting proforma for incidents/accidents and any other events that may compromise the safety of your environment. Contemporary research addresses common misconceptions and misinformation about safety practices and procedures, giving you greater choice and peace of mind.






Irrigation System Maintenance Checklist


To be used in conjunction with Garden Maintenance for Playspaces












To be used in conjunction with Garden Maintenance for Playspaces











To be used in conjunction with Garden Maintenance for Playspaces






Poster - Pan Canadian, Early Development Imperative, Sheila Grieve, 2009











This book is being put in the public domain in the memory of Jimmy Jolley. Jimmy worked ceaselessly all his life for children – specially the poor. His life will always be an inspiration to us.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Free resource material - Natural play, playspaces and gardening with children


I was reviewing some of the natural play resources that I have on my blog page and have mean't to do a post sharing the links for a while. All materials are free to download and where it is a copy of someone else's creation I have given appropriate attribution. With the Powerpoint presentations I only ask you do likewise if utilizing them in a group teaching or training sessions. I will post one a  day when I have the time.

Ebooks

A Comprehensive Guide to Growing Vegetables.


This guide provides specific information for educators and parents who want to introduce the concepts of the growth and care of edible vegetables to children. The book specifically addresses vegetation growth, taste, smell and texture, universal access, children's tools and participation, climatic planting zones, positioning plants within your playspace/garden, a global perspective on different types of gardens, specific information about the construction of the garden, propagation methods, preparation for planting, appropriate vegetables to plant, organic methods to feed and protect your vegetables, harvesting, preserving and information about plant and seed suppliers worldwide.


Resources to be used in conjunction with - A comprehensive guide to growing vegetables.


Plant Labels - Coloured

The labels can be printed A4 page or 4 per page (see your printer setup) and are used in conjunction with Plant adoption certificates to encouraged children in naturalistic childcare environments to bond and care for plants. Obviously labels may need to be laminated or otherwise waterproofed when placed outside. Uncoloured labels can be coloured and cut by the children before laminating/ waterproofing





Plant Certificates


Plant adoption Certificate I - used to encouraged children in naturalistic childcare environments to bond and care for plants.








Plant adoption Certificate II  - used to encouraged children in naturalistic childcare environments to bond and care for plants.

Plant adoption Certificate III - used to encouraged children in naturalistic childcare environments to bond and care for plants.











Plant adoption Certificate IV - used to encouraged children in naturalistic childcare environments to bond and care for plants.










Additional material



Leaf identification chart









Different Mulches









Optimal Soil Ph for Vegetables











Companion Plantings















Saturday, 1 July 2017

Salzburg Global Seminar - Topics

Salzburg Global Seminar - Topics

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above

During a five-day program held in March, 52 experts in urban planning, childhood development, conservation, environmental policy, and health considered how green spaces could better meet the needs, and be accessible for, children.
The Salzburg Statement on The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play recommends several policies, practices and investments. It also contains eight actions which can transform cities for children.

These eight actions are:

  1. Ensure children of all ages, backgrounds, income, and abilities have equitable access to nature and play regularly and in meaningful ways to promote good health and wellbeing. 
  2. Embed nature in everyday places used by children, such as schools, backyards, parks, playgrounds and city streets, to make the city into a natural outdoor classroom. 
  3. Involve children in designing and planning natural spaces for recreation, education, inspiration and health, to give them ownership and pride in their local communities, schools and parks 
  4. Build curiosity, wonder, and care for nature in children (for example by greening school grounds and involving children with community gardens). 
  5. Protect natural features across cityscapes and create an equitably distributed network of accessible green and nature-rich spaces that all generations can reach on foot. 
  6. Connect cities with the broader ecosystems in which they are embedded, creating corridors for people, plants and animals to move safely across the city and into its surroundings. 
  7. Establish more urban conservation areas to increase access to nature and connect cities to the broader protected area network 
  8. Work together through cross sectoral and multi-level partnerships to build an inclusive culture of health in cities.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Israel’s first outdoor preschool incorporates switchblades and scorpions | Jewish Telegraphic Agency


Israel’s first outdoor preschool incorporates switchblades and scorpions | Jewish Telegraphic Agency

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above


"It sounds like a Jewish mother’s nightmare: a preschool class held outdoors in the desert. But parents in this remote Israeli town drop off their children at Gan Keshet every weekday during the school year, setting them free to cook on a campfire, whittle sticks with switchblades and search for scorpions. Class goes on rain (rare) or shine (intense).
“The kids meet real life when they come here,” said Ron Meltzer, the school’s soft-spoken principal and visionary. “Spending time in nature — without an iPhone or computer — gives them many important gifts. I think it’s a solution for a major problem in our culture today.”

UN links child-friendliness to environment | Child in the City

UN links child-friendliness to environment | Child in the City

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above


"In its report of the DGD the UNCRC says ‘the impact of environmental damage on children’s rights is not a new issue. Yet, despite data explicitly linking environmental harm to child rights violations, increased awareness of environmental crises and numerous international agreements, the understanding of the relationship between children’s rights and the environment is still in its infancy’.


The report finds that ‘the parallel development of environmental law and human rights law has contributed to a lack of coordination between institutions dealing with child rights and environmental issues within both governments and the United Nations. This coordination gap is one of the reasons for inadequate monitoring and accountability for child rights violations that relate to the environment’."

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Back to nature: Getting dirty boosts child development, say experts - The Mainichi

Back to nature: Getting dirty boosts child development, say experts - The Mainichi

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above


Playing in nature while coming into contact with dirt and insects has an impact on child development. "By using all five senses to experience the outdoors, children are able to feel that they are a part of nature," says Michio Kawasaki, specially appointed professor of developmental psychology at Takada Junior College. Different from standardized man-made things that are sold as products, nature and living things that are a part of it have a form and a shape -- they move, they have a smell and a certain feeling when you touch them with your hands and even have a taste as well. Surrounded by the diversity of nature, children keep developing daily. "Humans are a part of nature. I think through being connected to nature, we can be surprised or moved, comforted or soothed," Kawasaki explains.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Official unveiling of the Sylvania Heights Public School new playspace.


What an absolute pleasure it was to join the children, staff and other dignitaries at Sylvania Heights Public School for the official unveiling of their new playspace. Thank you for the invitation and the warm welcome. I would love to revisit in a few months when the new plants have grown out and the local aboriginal artists have completed painting the totems. A few photos from my visit.