24. C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e There are four major types of programs like Outward Bound or the In addition to connecting kids to outdoor education programs that National Outdoor Leaderships nature, integrating environmental16 serve to connect children to nature: Schools have become “meaningful education into school programs has lifetime experiences” and often proven academic benefits: (1) investigational approaches; promote environmental stewardship. Place-based education connects the Sparks Interest in Science (2) outdoor learning; school to its immediate environment. and Math as Future Career (3) place-based learning; and Community service approaches Pathways advance responsible environmental According to the National (4) community service. behaviors and give children an Environmental Education and Traditional environmental problem- opportunity to support local green Foundation, 80% of all students solving in a community or spaces. Furthermore, experts note that decide to opt out of science and math “investigational approaches” have if environmental education is done careers before entering high school. shown to increase test scores on right it can be worth up to $75 billion Environmental education is a environmental knowledge, reading, a year in measurable environmental “heuristic tool for making science and writing skills. Outdoor learning benefits.91 more relevant and appealing,” and Know the FACTS Research Shows: T he Be ne f it s o f E n v ir o nm e nt a l E d uc a t io n n Kids in environmental education classes have • Controlling for GPA, gender, and ethnicity, EIC higher scores on standard measures of academic programs significantly raised scores on three achievement (reading, writing, math, science, key tests: achievement, motivation, and social studies). critical thinking. n In schools that compared the Environment as an n Increased critical thinking skills are attributed to Integrated Context for learning (EIC) to environmental themes, open-ended research traditional programs, 36 of 39 measures showed projects, student voice, and empowerment. higher performance by EIC students. There were n Motivation improvements attributed to learning fewer behavior problems and more engagement experiences tailored to students’ interests/ and enthusiasm for learning. strengths, and applied to real-life n Environmental education programs have resulted issues/problems. in higher test scores across the board. n Schools with enviornmental education programs n Some specific case studies: showed higher test scores on standardized tests • In a third grade class in Milwaukee, all the in math, reading, writing, and listening. The students in the environmental elementary pattern of enviornmental education school school passed the state reading students’ higher scores persisted for five years of comprehension test, as opposed to only 25% data investigated. of the Milwaukee public schools system-wide. n Outdoor education programs in California showed • At an elementary school in Asheville, NC with that science scores on post-test were higher for an environmental focus, fourth grade students groups in outdoor education. Teachers reported achieved a 31% point increase in math improved self-esteem, conflict resolution, and achievement in one year. relationship with peers, problem-solving, motivation to learn, and behavior in class. • Scores on college admission ACT test were Sources: (Lieberman & Hoody 1998); (SEER 2000); (NEEF, 2000); (Coyle 2005); higher from the School of Environmental (Bartosh 2004); (Athman & Monroe 2004); (American Institutes of Research 2005). Studies in Apple Valley, MN than their peers in schools at the district, state, and national levels. Nationa l Wild life Fed er a tion • www.be outthere.o rg
33. ENDNOTES Cowan, Alison Leigh (2007). “School Recess Gets Gentler and 14 Adults are Dismayed,” altparentingsolutions.com, http://groups.google.com.sg/group/alt.parenting.solutions/browse_t 251 Rideout, Victoria et al. (2005). Generation M: Media in the Lives hread/thread/b0d00fe0c9545d81(accessed Mar. 3, 2008); Lahoud,of 8-18 Year-Olds. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Susan (2006). “Tagged Out,” The Sun Chronicle, Oct.17, 2006,http://www.kff.org/entmedia/up...f-8-18-Year-olds-Report.pdf http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2006/10/18/features/featur(accessed Oct. 22, 2007). e37.txt (accessed Mar. 7, 2008); USA Today Editorial (2006). “Our Juster, F. Thomas et al. (2004). “Changing Times of American View on Children’s Welfare: All Work and No Play… Makes Kids Fat and Passive”, (Nov. 28, 2006),2Youth: 1981-2003,” Institute for Social Research, University ofMichigan. 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36. NATIONAL WILDLIFEFEDERATION11100 Wildlife Center DriveReston, VA 20190www.nwf.org