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  • Introduce speakers, including position in their organization and role with OLE Alliance. We’re here to tell you about the NC OLE Alliance. This is a group that has formed out of concern about children’s relationship with the outdoors.

NAEYC PDI Patricia's edits NAEYC PDI Patricia's edits Presentation Transcript

  • Professional preparation efforts as part of North Carolina’s state-wide initiative to enhance the quantity and quality of young children’s experiences outdoors Patricia Hearron, PhD, Appalachian State University Jani Kozlowski, MA, NC Partnership for Children Linda Hestenes, PhD, University of NC Greensboro NAEYC Professional Development Institute Charlotte, NC 2009
  • How did you play?
  • Where do children today play?
  • Outdoors—not a priority
  • Share emerging research Share the evolution of NC Outdoor Learning Environments Alliance Share strategies and tools Purpose of the presentation
      • Importance of play
      • Benefits of outdoor play in particular
      • Growing “nature deficit”
      • Effective professional development for teachers
    Emerging Research
  • Play
  • Outdoor Play Benefits the “Whole Child”
    • Health benefits
    • Cognitive benefits
      • creativity
      • problem-solving
      • focus
      • self-discipline
    • Social benefits
      • cooperation
      • self-awareness
    • Emotional benefits
      • stress reduction
      • reduced aggression
      • increased happiness
  • Attention issues respond to outside play .
  • Play in natural environments
      • Improved attention skills
      • Less impulsivity
      • Fewer challenging behaviors
    • Natural environments offer
    • greater opportunities for
    • unfettered physical
    • movement, thus decreasing
    • the likelihood of obesity
    • (Moore, et al , 2003).
    • Spending time in nature aids in stress
    • reduction and in the treatment of
    • depression and ADHD.
    • (Faber Taylor, et al, 2003; Louv, 2005; Wells, & Evans, 2003)
    • In a 2003 study, Cornell professor Nancy Wells found that even a view of nature—green plants and vistas—helps reduce stress among highly stressed children.
    • Further, the more plants, green views and access to natural play areas, the more positive the results.
    • Children should be encouraged to build sense of
    • caring about the earth and the need to act
    • responsibly toward it. E.O.Wilson describes this
    • innate need for connection as biophilia , finding a
    • place for yourself in the world (Wilson, 1984).
      • Childhood is different today
    Emerging research tells us:
  • Research supports this notion that children are spending less time playing outdoors
    • Survey of 800 mothers in the United States
    • Outdoor play in the 2000s vs 40 years ago
    • Less time outdoors
    • Different activities outdoors
    • More indoor play
  • Plugged In or Tuned Out?
    • For many, childhood is spent overly plugged in and programmed inside their homes, schools, and community settings in human-made environments, eliminating the outdoors, the benefits of nature, and all that exists in the natural environment (Wike, 2006).
    • Children now spend nearly 30 hours a week watching a TV or computer screen, listening to something through headphones or, for older children, using cell phones or media players (CDC, 2005; Ginsberg et al, 2007).
  • Children know more about Pokémon than common wildlife
    • Dr. Andrew Balmford and colleagues surveyed 109 United Kingdom primary schoolchildren (ages 4 to 11) to investigate their knowledge of natural and non-natural objects.
    • Each child was shown a set of 20 flashcards—10 of common British wildlife species (including plants, invertebrates, and mammals) and 10 of Pokémon characters.
    • Children’s overall identification success for common wildlife species rose from 32% at age 4 to 53% at age 8 and then fell slightly, whereas children’s identification success for Pokémon characters rose from 7% at age 4 to 78% at age 8.
  • What are the consequences?
    • Decline in physical fitness
    • Rising childhood obesity rates
    • Increase in attention issues
    • More allergies, asthma , respiratory illness
  • Childhood Obesity on the Rise
    • In America, two of every ten children are clinically
    • obese, and child obesity rates are increasing at
    • an alarming rate—almost fourfold in three decades
    • (Perrin et al, 2007)
  • National Center for Health Statistics
    • Since 1966 the number of overweight children ages 6-11 has increased from 4% of the US population to 15% (almost a 400% increase).
    • 70% of these children will become obese adults.
    • The strongest predictor of physical activity among children is time spent outdoors.
      • Increased risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
      • Impact on self-esteem, confidence, ability to learn.
      • Carries over into school-age and adulthood.
      • Economic issue: Unhealthy lifestyle and physical inactivity cost North Carolina’s economy $24 billion each year.
    Obesity and overweight among children is a critical health problem that has serious effects on children’s long-term health.
    • Children need 1 hour per day of vigorous activity.
    • (U.S. Surgeon General)
    However, more than half of parents (54%) said that they had little or no time to spend engaged in physical activity with their children, but wish they had more time .
  • ADHD on the rise
    • In that same time period, Ritalin use for the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder ADD ADHD increased 700 percent.
    • About six million children, roughly one in eight children, will take ADHD medications.
    • Since 1991, prescriptions for ADHD medications quintupled.
    • ADHD medications prescriptions for children ages 2 to 4 increased almost 300% between 1991 and 1995.
  • Why aren’t children going outside?
    • Safety concerns
      • Crime
      • Traffic
      • Sun safety
      • Air quality – ozone days
      • Weather
      • Rules, regulations, sanitation
    • Current conditions
      • Lack of high-quality outdoor environments
      • Lack of recognition of the outdoors as an arena for learning
      • Lack of understanding that children learn through play
  • NC Outdoor Learning Environments Alliance
      • History
      • Composition
      • Projects
  • Mission of NC OLE Alliance
    • “ To improve the quality of outdoor environments and experiences for all children throughout the state.”
  • NC OLE Alliance is organized by:
    • 3 Work Groups
      • Professional Development & Technical Assistance
      • Policy & Regulation
      • Public Awareness & Advocacy
    • A Leadership Team that includes 2 representatives from each work group.
    • Advisory Members who are available to the Alliance to provide expertise in specified areas.
  • North Carolina Leadership
      • Outdoor Learning Environments Alliance
      • Development of the Preschool Outdoor Environments Measurement Scale (POEMS)
      • Nationally & Internationally recognized research leaders (UNCG, Natural Learning Initiative, POEMS)
      • Higher education (2- and 4-year institutions including OLE in teacher education and training)
      • Targeted training and workshops, conference tracks, training/demonstration sites projected
      • Annual Outdoor Design Institute (NLI)
      • Western Regional Institute – Outside is In!
      • Initiation of national activities (Take a child outside week)
      • Embedding outdoor play and learning throughout our work (Early Learning Standards, Ready Schools, etc.)
      • Assessing the quality of outdoor learning environments
      • Addressing perceived barriers
      • Helping teachers and future teachers
    Strategies and Tools
      • Assessing quality of outdoor environments
  • Addressing perceived barriers
      • Teachers views of outdoors
      • Teachers beliefs
      • Teachers behaviors
    • Research shows that when students get
    • involved in outdoor projects, their level of
    • engagement and enthusiasm for learning goes
    • up, and that this situation, for teachers,
    • translates into
    • significantly reduced
    • discipline & class
    • management problems
    • Children who experience school grounds with
    • diverse natural settings are more physically
    • active, more aware of nutrition and more civil
    • to one another (Bell and Dyment, 2006).
  • Outdoor Learning Environments Quality Enhancement Project
    • Preventing Obesity by Design (POD)
    • Funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation
    • NC State Natural Learning Initiative & NCPC
    • 3 years  30 model outdoor environments
    • Training & support for Smart Start-funded technical assistance providers
      • POD Design Workshop
      • Designs
      • Play area improvement
  • Sky View Factor Before After 26% less sun exposure
      • Environmental Care
  • BEFORE AFTER
  • Participating POD Counties
  • Outdoor Learning Environments Alliance
    • Professional Development Work Group
    • Sub-committee on Higher Education Curriculum
    • Goals for Outdoor Learning Environments and Curriculum
    • Articulate the benefits of daily outdoor spontaneous and unstructured play as well as intentional learning experiences.
    • Identify elements of appropriate and inappropriate outdoor environments for ALL children and give rationale for decisions.
    • Discuss research-based connections between children’ holistic development and their experiences in natural surroundings.
    Teacher preparation: Knowledge
  • Teacher preparation: Knowledge
    • Identify and describe outdoor experiences that will facilitate development in all domains, including
      • Science and nature
      • Nutrition
      • Gross and fine motor
      • Dramatic play
      • Creative arts
      • Language and literacy
  • Teacher preparation: Knowledge
    •   Defend the importance of thinking in terms of interdependence of all living things and how that thinking translates into planning curriculum and civic responsibility.
    • Identify community natural areas and resources to enhance outdoor learning.
    • Define strategies for involving families and local communities in outdoor learning.
    • Justify policies that support a broad and nature-integrated curriculum that is multi-disciplinary, multi-sensory, and emergent.
  • Teacher preparation: Skills
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the current knowledge of outdoor environments and children’s development.
    • Design developmentally appropriate outdoor learning environments for all age levels.
    • Utilize an assessment tool, such as POEMS, to evaluate an outdoor learning environment and make appropriate recommendations.
    • Create developmentally appropriate activities to facilitate learning and development in all domains in an outdoor learning environment that promotes all areas of development.
  • Teacher preparation: Skills
    • Model active engagement and exploration of outdoor learning to children.
    • Increase and broaden interaction with local natural areas and reflect on each experience.
    • Plan a family and community event focusing on the importance of daily outdoor learning for children.
    • Motivate children to respect the natural learning environment.
    • Advocate for access to high-quality outdoor experiences for ALL children.
  • Teacher preparation: Dispositions
    • Reflect on personal experiences with the outdoors, nature, nutrition, and physical activity; identify positive or negative feelings associated with particular aspects of each and examine possible reasons for each.
    • Examine relationship between personal experience and current attitudes or interactions with children .
    • Identify personal attitudes or feelings toward concepts such as unstructured play, risk vs. challenge, child safety, messy play, etc. and think about how those attitudes and feelings influence interactions with children and activity planning.
  • Teacher preparation: Dispositions
    • Realize and accept that outdoor play can be messy, that children thrive with opportunities for appropriate risk-taking , and that safe environments can include challenges.
    • Evaluate attitudes regarding reduce, reuse, and recycle and the impact those attitude have on behavior.
  • We still have a long way to go!
  • But possibilities are endless!!
  • Questions? Comments?