Open Voices Blog

Archives for posts tagged as "kids"

Measuring the Impact of Nature on Inner-City Children

09/17/15 | View Comments

150For a child growing up in the city, nature is often seen as a foreign or even scary thing. Without access to green space and natural environments, children can fail to form the bond with nature that we as humans often find essential to our existence. As TKF Foundation partner Naval Cemetery Landscape, part of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, works to restore and revitalize a section of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and cemetery grounds, they are also researching the impact of nature upon children with limited connection to nature.

According to Pamela Ito, Director of Education with The Horticultural Society of New York — another partner in the project, over the past two years they have brought around 100 children from The Green School of Brooklyn to the Naval Cemetery Landscape and other nearby nature environments in the area. Along with helping with the development of the site, the students are getting hands-on experience to go with lessons taught in the classroom.

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Recommended Reading: Bringing Education and Nature Together

10/29/13 | View Comments

For many students today the school day consists of sitting indoors at a desk, staring at photocopied worksheets and the blackboard. But for the students at CA Frost Environmental Sciences Academy in Grand Rapids, MI, education isn’t confined to inside.

The school sits right next to a nature preserve, so teachers can help bring more hands on experiences with nature to their students. When studying ponds, the students were actually able to get into the pond to measure the temperature and learn how that impacted the ecosystem. In learning about soil they can go outside and feel the difference between sand or clay based samples.

This unique school, with its nature based curriculum, is open to any student in Grand Rapids, allowing equal access to more nature during the school day. With many schools canceling outdoor recess or physical education, there has been a noticeable lack of engagement between children and the natural world. However, as more schools begin to open up their doors to what’s going on outside, children can also begin to develop a life-long appreciation for nature.

Learn more about nature based education in Grand Rapids here.

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Recommended Reading: The Natural Way to Learn and Play

10/09/13 | View Comments

What preschool-aged child wouldn’t love to spend their school day climbing trees and playing in the dirt? Nature-based education allows for curriculum that supports those activities as well as positive emotional and cognitive development, reigniting the spark between youth and the natural world. And recently, there’s more research that suggests that children benefit both physically and mentally from playing in the outdoors and getting closer to nature, inspiring new-found interest in nature preschools like Drumlin Farm Community Preschool in Massachusetts.

Nature-based education has been fairly popular in Northern Europe for decades, but is picking up steam in the United States, especially with the rise in what journalist Richard Louv calls “nature-deficit disorder,” where lack of natural and outdoor play and exploration carries detrimental effects. The programs at many nature-based schools follow the interests of the students and allow for use of their imaginations to help develop problem-solving skills.

There are no concrete limits to learning, exploring and playing in nature, allowing children to engage in such a wide variety of activities, the positive effects of exposure to nature on their development has been supported over and over again.

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    We are a private nonprofit that supports, informs, and inspires the creation of publicly accessible urban green spaces. We believe that every city resident needs nearby green space to provide opportunities for mindfulness, respite, and renewal. The Foundation has issued its final grants to build five Open Spaces Sacred Places and research the impacts on a variety of users with the hope that the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human wellbeing will be scientifically proven.

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