The Children & Nature Network published Thriving Through Nature: Fostering Children's Executive Function Skills. The 2015 report, by Chiara D'Amore, describes how time in nature from infancy through adolescence helps children to develop executive function skills. These skills include the ability to reason, plan, remember, use self-control and solve problems. Pages 10-12 provide a variety of nature-based activities that teachers of K-8 students may introduce outdoors. The report notes the recommendations of writer and educator David Sobel that "early childhood activities that foster a connection with the natural world should center on enhancing the developmental tendency toward empathy with nature, in middle childhood exploration should take precedence, and in adolescence social action should assume a more central role." Sobel explains these three stages of bonding with the earth in his article "Beyond Ecophobia" in Yes! Magazine.
The Children & Nature Network's Natural Teacher Network produced the eGuide 10 x 10: Tools for Teaching, which offers tools and resources to help teachers connect students to nature. The guide offers ten reasons to take students outside and provides links to original research and studies that support each statement. It also provides ten examples of nature-centric programs at schools in the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, the guide provides a list of organizations that support nature-based learning.
by tommaso lana
A widely-read article in Nature by Elie Dolgin reports that short-sightedness “now affects around half of young adults in the United States and Europe — double the prevalence of half a century ago.”
Many ophthalmologists and endocrinologists suggest one way to address this ongoing myopia epidemic: increasing children’s exposure to daylight. However, finding ways to do that on an everyday basis is a major challenge for schools, education professionals and parents. This article discusses that challenge, suggests one quick and practical approach and offers three ideas to help school administrators, teachers and caregivers increase both quality learning and outdoor play time for young and very young children.
The Three-Hours-a-Day Challenge
The number of short-sighted young people is rising fast. It is tempting to blame the situation on the overuse of electronic devices and prolonged screen time; however, the core of the problem lies first and foremost in the spaces where each of us now lives, learns and works. Dolgin writes in his article, The Myopia Boom:
“Retinal dopamine is normally produced on a diurnal cycle — ramping up during the day — and it tells the eye to switch from rod-based, nighttime vision to cone-based, daytime vision. Researchers now suspect that under dim (typically indoor) lighting, the cycle is disrupted, with consequences for eye growth.”
This collection of resources provides inspiration and strategies for teachers to support outdoor learning opportunities.