The Health and Learning Benefits of Green Schools for Our Children


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The Health and Learning Benefits of Green Schools for Our Children

  1. 1. The Health and LearningBenefits of Green Schools for Our Children Presenter: Tiffany Sauls, MD
  2. 2. Goals and ObjectivesCrises facing children todayIssues affecting schools and the educational systemWhat is a green school?General benefits of green schoolsSpecific benefits of building design, outdoor p g g ,classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,exposure to natureExamples of green schoolsSchool as a therapeutic environmentCall to actionQuestions
  3. 3. What do I know?Trained in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,Adult Psychiatry and PediatricsSpecial interest in wilderness therapyStarting a green school for kids with ADHD,behavior problems, learning disabilities,depression, anxiety and social skills problemsAvid outdoor enthusiast
  4. 4. Goals and ObjectivesCrises facing children todayIssues affecting schools and the educational systemWhat is a green school?General benefits of green schoolsSpecific benefits of building design, outdoor p g g ,classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,exposure to natureExamples of green schoolsSchool as a therapeutic environmentCall to actionQuestions
  5. 5. Crises facing our ChildrenObesityAsthma/AllergiesADHDMood DisordersImpaired social skillsPoor academicachievement“Nature-deficitdisorderdisorder”
  6. 6. Nature-Deficit DisorderDiminished use of the senses attention senses,difficulties, and higher rates of physical andemotional illness due directly to alienation yfrom nature“Our children no longer learn how to read thegreat Book of Nature from their own direct tB k fN t f th i di texperience or how to interact creatively withthe seasonal transformations of the planet. pThey seldom learn where their water comesfrom or where it goes. We no longercoordinate our human celebration with thegreat litergy of the heavens.” - Wendell Berry
  7. 7. How Did We Get Here? More time indoors Increased time with electronics Increased exposure to environmental toxins Less time outdoors and in nature Limited “free p ay ted ee play”
  8. 8. How did we get here?More time indoors andwith electronics “I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’swhere all the electrical outlets are” - 4th grader in San Diego((from Last Child in the Woods)
  9. 9. ElectronicsChildren between 6 months and6 years spend an average of 1.5hours/day with electronic mediaYouth between the ages of 8 and18 spend an average of 6.5hours/day with electronic media(Kaiser Family Foundation, 2005and 2006)
  10. 10. How did we get here?
  11. 11. How did we get here?Increased exposure toenvironmental toxins Lead L d Inhalants Cleaning products Fumes
  12. 12. How did we get h ? H t here?Limited exposure to outdoors/nature “Here is this vast, savage, howling mother of ours ours, Nature, lying all around, with such beauty, and such affection for her children, as the leopard; and yet we are so early weaned from her breast to society,to that culture which is exclusively an interaction of man on man” -HHenry D id Th David Thoreau
  13. 13. Decreased time outdoors85% of mothers agree that children playoutside less today than just a few years ago70% of mothers report playing outside everyday when they were young, compared to only31% of th i children (Cl f their hild (Clements, 2004) tIn a typical week, only 6% of children, ages 9to 13 lt 13, play outside on th i own t id their
  14. 14. Decreased time outdoorsFrom 1997 - 2003, there was a50% drop in kids 9 -12 yrs oldwho spent time in outdooractivities such as hiking,walking, fishing, beach p y and g, g, playgardening (Hofferth andSandberg, 2001; Hofferth andCurtin,Curtin 2006)Education-based outings atOu dooOutdoor Discovery Ce e in sco e y CenterMichigan are eye-opening
  15. 15. Limited “free play”Play = the spontaneous activity inwhich children engage to amuse andto occupy themselves pyPlaytime - especially unstructured,imaginative, exploratory play - is anessential component of child ti l t f hilddevelopmentChildren no longer “play” play
  16. 16. How did we get here? Between 1981 and 1997, free playtime decreased 25% Free play and “discretionary” time declined >9 hrs/week from 1981 - 2003 y 30% decrease in bicycle riding
  17. 17. What happened to free play?Parents driving in circles to takechildren to school, after schoolactivities,activities sports events dance class events, class,clubs, church and social activities
  18. 18. ObesityRates in children ha e increased havefrom 4% in the 60’s to close to20% in 2004A 13 year old girl is 16 poundsheavier today than 30 years ago60% of obese children, age 5 -10, have at least one ,cardiovascular disease risk factorJAMA reports an upward trend in p phigh blood pressure in kids 8 - 18
  19. 19. Obesity
  20. 20. Obesity Ob itMany health-care leaders worry that the current health caregeneration of children may be the first since World WarII to die at an earlier age than their parents.2007 Duke University Child and Well-Being Index:“The most disturbing finding” of the Index is notviolence or abductions but “that children’s health has abductions,sunk to its lowest point in the 30-year history of theIndex, driven largely by an alarming rise in the numberof children who are obese and a smaller decline inchild mortality rates than achieved in recent years.”
  21. 21. AsthmaMost common chronic disorder inchildhoodAffects 6 2 million kids under age 6.218; 1 in 10 of all school children3rd leading cause of hospitalizationamong children under 15 hild dAnnual direct health care cost isapprox. $11.5 billionAmerican Lung Association foundthat school children miss more than14 million school days a year y ybecause of asthma
  22. 22. ADHDAD/HD is relatively common,occurring in roughly 7% ofschool-age children (>2school-million affected in the USA)AD/HD is linked to pooracademic performanceAD/HD can have long-lasting long-effects on social developmentMany co-morbidities co-
  23. 23. ADHD% ever diagnosed (2003)
  24. 24. ADHD Attention Deficit Att ti D fi it Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is characterized by severe difficulties with inattention and impulsivity. Symptoms include: restlessness, outbursts, trouble listening, difficulty following directions, and f ll i di i d problems focusing on tasks
  25. 25. ADHD TreatmentCombination of behavioral therapies andstimulant medicationsMedication can have serious side effectsThey help only 9 out of 10 children with ADHD y p yThere is no evidence they improve long-term long-social and academic outcomesCost and alternatives?
  26. 26. Mood Disorders“Culture of d“C lt f depression” i ”Approximately 10% of adolescents (2.2million) experienced at least one major periodof depression in the past year.Nearly two-thirds of children and adolescents ysuffering from depression also had anothermental health disorder (anxiety, substanceabuse)Children and adolescents with majordepressive disorder are much more likely tocommit suicide.
  27. 27. Goals and ObjectivesCrises facing children todayIssues affecting schools and the educationalsystemWhat iWh t is a green school? h l?General benefits of green schoolsSpecific benefits of building design, outdoorclassrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,exposure to natureExamples of green schoolsSchool as a therapeutic environmentCall to actionQuestions
  28. 28. Issues Facing SchoolsNo Child Left BehindLess time outdoors and in physicallyactive pursuitsLess exposure to arts music and arts,creative pursuitsEnhanced focus on t h lE h df technologyUnhealthy school buildings
  29. 29. No Child Left Behind2001 Elementary andSecondary Education Act yAll students required toattain grade-level proficiency grade levelin reading and math by 2014Focus on standards testing standards, testing,accountability measures andteacher quality
  30. 30. No Child Left BehindRequires states to set standards anddevelop assessments and annualmeasurable benchmarks and requires benchmarks,districts and schools to implement themStates must test public schools in readingand math every yearGoals for dG l f adequate yearly progress (AYP) t l
  31. 31. NCLB - Positive AspectsTargeted at high poverty, low achieving povertyschoolsPlight f ti ’Pli ht of nation’s underserved children is d d hild ibrought to lightGoal of closing the achievement gapEnd “the soft bigotry of low expectations” g y p- G. W. Bush
  32. 32. Problems with NCLB“One size fits all” approachSome students singled out, others ignoredPSSA testing affects self-esteemProgress not rewarded,only “grade-level”
  33. 33. Problems with NCLBEnhanced focus on test scores vs broader vision ofeducationFocus on reading and math is narrowing education Reading instruction has gained 40 minutes/week Social studies lost 17 minutes/week Science lost 23 minutes/weekArizona Desert Elementary no longer teachesscience or social studies as stand-alone subjects. Resulted in the school going from failing in 2004 to making AYP and earning a high-flying “performing p plus” designation by the AZ dept of education g y p
  34. 34. Problems with NCLBHas not been effective30,000 educators and concerned citizens haveasked for repeal pLawmakers in many states have threatened toopt out of NCLB
  35. 35. Limited exposure to Creative Pursuits1/3 of public-school music programswere dropped in the last 10 y pp years. BUT…Students who studied the arts>4 years scored 44pts higher on mathand 59 points higher on verbal sectionof SAT. SAT
  36. 36. Technology “Fool’s Gold,” “Silicon faith” Moratorium on computer use in early childhood education 85 experts in Neurology, Psychiatry and Education, including Diane R it h i l di Di Ravitch (former US assistant secretary of Education) and Marilyn Benoit (President elect of AACAP) )
  37. 37. School Buildings20% of Americans go to school everyday14 million students attend schools consideredbelow standard or dangerousAir is “unfit to breathe” in nearly 15,000schools
  38. 38. School Buildings“Unfortunately, too many of America’s 55 million elementary through high school students attend schools that are unhealthy and unsound, and inhibit rather than foster learning ” - learning. McElroy, President, American Federation of Teachers
  39. 39. School Buildings“Children’s health is disproportionately affected by indoor pollutants, while light and air quality affects their capacity to learn and succeed ” - succeed. Fedrizzi, CEO, U.S. Green Building Council Higher absenteeism g Increased respiratory ailments Low motivation Slower learning Sl l i Lower test scores Increased medical costs
  40. 40. Goals and ObjectivesCrises facing children todayIssues affecting schools and the educational systemWhat is a green school?General benefits of green schoolsSpecific benefits of building design, outdoor p g g ,classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,exposure to natureExamples of green schoolsSchool as a therapeutic environmentCall to actionQuestions
  41. 41. Green and Healthy SchoolGreen = adopting behaviors that will allow schools t operate efficiently f ll h l to t ffi i tl for natural resource conservation, sustainability and create a healthier environment.Healthy = human health (nutrition, physical activity, safety) health of the natural environment (clean air, water, and land) health of constructed environments (classrooms, cafeterias, (classrooms cafeterias and school grounds)
  42. 42. Attributes of a Green and Healthy School1) A team of students, teachers and school administrators who work together to provide safe, healthy learning areas g2) A building that operates at high performance levels for natural resource conservation and sustainability
  43. 43. Attributes of a Green and Healthy School3) An outdoor area used for authentic, place-based education4) Closes the student achievement gap using the environment as an integrated learning context5) Extends into the community encouraging environmentally-friendly practices at home, work and play
  44. 44. Goals and ObjectivesCrises facing children todayIssues affecting schools and the educational systemWhat is a green school?General benefits of green schoolsSpecific benefits of building design, outdoor p g g ,classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,exposure to natureExamples of green schoolsSchool as a therapeutic environmentCall to actionQuestions
  45. 45. Benefits of green schoolsPhysical health: obesity, asthma and otherrespiratory illnessesMental h lth ADHD, depression, socialM t l health: ADHD d i i lskills, self-esteemEducational: problem solving academic problem-solving,achievement, creativityCommunity: better relationships, healthier y p ,natural environment, teaches sustainablepractices
  46. 46. Goals and ObjectivesCrises facing children todayIssues affecting schools and the educational systemWhat is a green school?General benefits of green schoolsSpecific benefits of building design, outdoor p g g ,classrooms, green playgrounds, environmentalstudy, exposure to natureExamples of green schoolsSchool as a therapeutic environmentCall to actionQuestions
  47. 47. Green Building DesignLess toxic materialsImproved ventilation and air q p quality yNatural lightingSustainable practiceDecreased resource consumption
  48. 48. Benefits of Green DesignHealth benefits - asthma, allergies,respiratory illness, cold, fluDecreased absenteeismLowered health care costsImproved school performanceClosing the achievement gapPromotes learning opportunities andenvironmental stewardship
  49. 49. Improved Air Quality25% - 38.5% reduction in asthma51% reduction in respiratory illness(common cold, flu)Decreased health care costs (paid byparents, not schools)
  50. 50. Natural LightingImproved test scoresReduced off-task off taskbehaviors“More daylight Morefosters higherstudentachievement.”
  51. 51. Closing the Achievement GapChildren in low income families are 30%to 50% more likely to have respiratory y p yproblems that lead to absenteeism anddiminished learning and test scores gGreening public schools creates anopportunity to improve the health andeducational settings for all students
  52. 52. Building Design - Green ViewsInner-city housing projects in ChicagoPresence of trees outside apartmentbuildings predicted:b ildi di t d less procrastination, better coping skills, and less severe assessment of their problems among women (Kuo, 2001) greater self-discipline among girls (Taylor et al., 2002) reduced crime, less violence and better social relationships (Kuo and Sullivan, 2001)
  53. 53. Building Design - Green ViewsGreen plants and natural vistas linked withreduced stress among highly-stressedchildren in rural areasResults most significant where there are thegreatest number of plants, green views, andaccess to natural play areas (Wells andEvans, 2003)Prison inmates whose cells faced a courtyardhad 24% more illness than those who had aview of farmland
  54. 54. Educational EnrichmentHands-on educational opportunities teachabout sustainability: On it O site renewable energy generation bl ti Water conservation features Green technologiesRep. Darlene Hooley (D-Ore): “By using alternativesto toxic chemicals, pursuing green building andmaintenance practices changing resource practices,consumption habits, serving nutritious food, andteaching students to be steward of their communities,we llwe’ll help put future generations at the forefront ofsustainable development.”
  55. 55. Benefits of outdoor classroomsIncreased opportunity for experiential, hands-on learningNaturalN t l curiosity leads t scientific l i it l d to i tifi learning iConnecting to the Earth and nature istherapeutic“Green playgrounds” provide opportunity for“free play” p y
  56. 56. Environment as an Integrated Context for Learning (EIC)Closing the Achievement Gap (1998): Schoolachievement is enhanced when youth experienceschool curricula in which the environment is theprincipal organizerImprovements in: Standardized test scores Grade point average Behavior Engagement and enthusiasm enth siasm Ability and willingness to stay on task Adaptability to various learning styles Civility t Ci ilit toward others d th
  57. 57. Experiential LearningSignificant student gains in socialstudies, science, language arts andmathScience testing scores improved 27%when students involved in outdoorscience programs (American Institutesfor Research, 2005) Research
  58. 58. Green school groundsChildren have increased activity, are moreaware of nutrition and more civil to oneanotherMore likely to engage in creative forms ofplay and play more cooperatively (Bell andDyment, 2006)“Natural spaces and materials stimulatechildren’s limitless imaginations and serve asthe medium of inventiveness and creativity.” -Robin Moore (international authority on environmentdesign for children’s play, learning and education)
  59. 59. School Ground Naturalization“A process involving students, teachers, andoften administrators and communityvolunteers in the collaborative improvementof school grounds for the purpose ofaddressing the healthy p y g y physical, social, , ,emotional, and intellectual development ofstudents.”Stimulates lSti l t play and l d learning th i i thus improvingihealth and education
  60. 60. Free Play y Beneficial to learning and developmentChildren are smarter, more cooperative,Child t tihappier and healthierAllows children t i iti t activity ratherAll hild to initiate ti it ththan waiting for an adult to direct themInduces curiosity and th use ofI d i it d the fimagination
  61. 61. Free PlayEnhances cognitive flexibility, problem-solving ability, self-esteem, and self-disciplinePromotes executive functioningImproves social skills gPromotes emotional intelligencePromotes emotional well-being( p(depression, anxiety, aggression, sleep) , y, gg , p)
  62. 62. Benefits of community involvement and environmental focusStronger sense of communityBetter community healthActive involvement of parents pHealthier natural environmentCreation of a sense of place
  63. 63. Benefits of community involvement and environmental focus“Place-based education” - can bond a studentto their community and the environment,giving them a sense of belonging andmeaning iPromotes current and future environmentalstewardship and protection of our naturalresourcesProvides a sense of hope and personalresponsibility
  64. 64. Benefits of Nature ExposureReduced symptoms of ADHD and otherbehavior problemsImproved self-esteem and self-worthI d lf t d lf thDecreased depression and anxietyImproved cognitive abilitiesI d iti bilitiImproved physical healthStress reduction
  65. 65. Nature ExposureJohn Muir - “I am well again, I came to life inthe cool winds and crystal waters of themountains.”Nancy Wells (environmental psychologist atCornell U iC ll University): “Th protective impact of it ) “The t ti i t fnature is strongest for the most vulnerablechildren - those experiencing the highestlevels of stressful life events.”
  66. 66. Benefits of Nature ExposureEnvironmental psychologists Rachel andStephen Kaplan have linked contact with natureto restored attention, the promotion of recoveryfrom mental fatigue, and enhanced mentalfocus (Kaplan & Kaplan 1989; Kaplan 1995) Kaplan, Kaplan,“Restorative” influences of the natural world
  67. 67. The Restorative EnvironmentDirected attention (classroom) vs involuntaryattention (fascination/wonder)Direct attention fatigue = ADHD“If you can find an environment where theattention is automatic, you allow directedattention to rest.”The “fascination factor” of being immersed ina “whole other world” (nature) is restorative.
  68. 68. Nature exposureNature experience linked to better academicperformanceProximity tP i it to, views of, and daily exposure t i f d d il tonatural settings is associated with children’sability to focus and enhances cognitiveabilities (Wells, 2000)Children with more nature near their homescore lower on scales of behavioral conductdisorder, anxiety and depression…and ratethemselves higher on self-worth
  69. 69. Nature and ADHDSymptoms of ADHD are reduced whenchildren have regular access to the out-of-doorsUniversity of Illinois study (Faber Taylor et al.,2001; Kuo and Faber Taylor, 2004): thegreener a child’s everyday environment, themore manageable their symptomsParents note fewer symptoms and increasedfocus immediately following outdoor activities(camping and fishing) vs indoor activities(video games)
  70. 70. Nature and ADHDUnpublished study from the University of Illinois (Taylor, Kuo): Attention performance for unmedicated kids with ADHD was better after a 20 minute walk in the p park vs a 20 minute walk downtown or in a residential area.
  71. 71. Wilderness experienceNOLS and Outward Bound - trips are therapeutic forpsychological disorders, addiction, developmentaland cognitive disabilitiesInner city children show increased self-esteem andwell-being after spending the summer in rural camps g p g p(Readdick and Shaller, 2005)Adults who participate in wilderness excursionsdescribe “an increased sense of aliveness, well an aliveness well-being, and energy,” and make healthier lifestylechoices afterwards (Greenway, 1995)
  72. 72. Goals and ObjectivesCrises facing children todayIssues affecting schools and the educational systemWhat is a green school?General benefits of green schoolsSpecific benefits of building design, outdoor p g g ,classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,exposure to natureExamples of green schoolsSchool as a therapeutic environmentCall to actionQuestions
  73. 73. Examples of green schools and programsEvergreen’s LearningGrounds Program(Canada)Third Creek Elementary(Statesville, NC)(St t illClearview ElementarySchool (Pennsylvania)S h l (P l i )Kentucky Green andHealthy Schools Program
  74. 74. Evergreen s Evergreen’s Learning GroundsEvergreen Canada Initiative (Toyota is titlesponsor)Established in 1993 to bring students teachers students,and neighborhoods together to transform barrenasphalt and turf school grounds into naturaloutdoor classroomsOver 1,000 schools have enhanced theopportunities for learning and play on theirgrounds by planting trees, shrubs andwildflowers, planning meadows and ponds, andcreating murals sculptures vegetable gardens murals, sculptures,and other theme areas.
  75. 75. Third Creek ElementaryCountry’s first LEED gold K-12 schoolReplaced two lower p p performing schools gImprovement from less than 60% ofstudents on grade level in reading and g gmath to 80% on grade level in bothMost gains in academic p g performance ofany of the 32 schools in the schoolsystem
  76. 76. Clearview Elementary2002 LEED Gold buildingSubstantial improvements in health andtest scores19% increase in Student Oral ReadingFluency scores
  77. 77. KY Green & Healthy Schools Program (KGHS)New, voluntary effort to empower studentsand staff with the tools needed to take actionand make their school operate at peakefficiencyTwo prongedTwo-pronged approach New or renovated schools may include a “green and healthy” design from the start Existing h l E i ti schools participate as student’s inventory ti i t t d t’ i t current school operations and environments and implement action plans to improve school health and sustainability. d t i bilit
  78. 78. KGHS21 regional schools have chosen toparticipateWill do improvement p j p projectsinvolving Water, waste, energy Health d f t H lth and safety Transportation Instructional leadership p Green spaces Indoor air quality and hazardous chemicals
  79. 79. Goals and ObjectivesCrises facing children todayIssues affecting schools and the educational systemWhat is a green school?General benefits of green schoolsSpecific benefits of building design, outdoor p g g ,classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,exposure to natureExamples of green schoolsSchool as a therapeutic environmentCall to actionQuestions
  80. 80. School as a Therapeutic EnvironmentGreen schools could be used a tool fortreatment of many childhood disorders: Obesity ADHD Mood Disorders Social skills problems p
  81. 81. Therapeutic SchoolsChildren with mental health issues are seen “one-at-a-time” by pediatricians and psychiatristsInterventions such as therapy and medications arefalling shortPerhaps our focus is off: “We are trying to return themost affected t il of population di t ib ti t the t ff t d tail f l ti distribution to thmean, rather than recognizing that the entirepopulation needs to move toward mental well-beingbringing lb i i along th di ff t d - a shift that can only the disaffected hift th t loccur by shaping the environment at large.”(Jackson, 2008)
  82. 82. Physical HealthThe Nation’s Health (Oct 2007): “For public health workers, the effects of sedentary indoor lifestyles are already d t i d lif t l l d evident among children: startling rates of obesity, the onset of one-time adult one time conditions such as diabetes and a shortened life expectancy. Thankfully, though, the movement t reconnect kid with nature has t to t kids ith t h seen a rejuvenation in the last few years, and e pe s predict a experts p ed c that good health will be a ea major motivator in bringing families back to nature.”
  83. 83. Mental HealthUK study (April 2007): showed benefits of “green greentreatment” (ecotherapy) 71% of those with mental health disorders report decrease in depression or tension after taking a walk in the woods or gardeningMind (UK National Association for Mental Health),chief executive: “Mi d sees ecotherapy as an hi f ti “Mind thimportant part of the future for mental health. It’s acredible, clinically-valid treatment option and needs tobeb prescribed b GP’ especially when f many ib d by GP’s, i ll h forpeople access to treatments other thanantidepressants is extremely limited.”
  84. 84. Therapeutic Gardens Experiential learning through gardening and other nature connections can be therapeutic Mental health pioneer Dr. Benjamin Rush - “Digging in the soil has a gg g curative effect on the mentally ill.” Frumkin (CDC): “Perhaps we will advise patients t t k a f d i ti t to take few d days i in the country, to spend time gardening.” Psychiatry pioneer Carl Menninger - horticulture therapy movement
  85. 85. Therapeutic SchoolsUniversity of Illinois study on ADHD andNature (Taylor, Kuo, Sullivan; 2001)recommendations: Encourage kids to study or play in rooms with a view of nature Encourage kids to play outdoors in green spaces, and advocate recess in green schoolyards. This may be especially helpful for renewing children’s children s concentration. Plant and care for trees and vegetation…; caring for trees means caring for people people.
  86. 86. Free (play) TherapyFree play = therapyCultivates a range of social and gemotional capabilities, i.e. “emotionalintelligence” Empathy Flexibility Self-awareness Self-regulation
  87. 87. Free (play) TherapyStudies in adults link physical activity to: Diminished depressive symptoms Decreased anxiety acutely and over time Improved mood and emotional well-being“Learning at a critical period in developmentthat play and movement relieves stress andenhances mood may help children sustainphysical activity patterns over their lifetime.” -Burdette (2005)
  88. 88. Healthy SchoolsJames Sallis (Active Living Research Program forRobert Wood Johnson Foundation): “Based onprevious studies we can definitely say that the best studies,predictor of preschool children’s physical activity issimply being outdoors, and that an indoor, sedentarychildhood is linked to mental health problems.”Start with pre-schools for healthy development
  89. 89. School as a Therapeutic Environment Howard Frumkin, MD, MPH, DrPH, director of the CDC National Center for Environmental Health “Perhaps the…organizations that pay for health care will come to fund such interventions, especially if they prove to rival pharmaceuticals in cost and efficacy.” Frumkin agrees that we need more research on the relationship between nature experiences and health but “We know health, but, We enough to act.”
  90. 90. Goals and ObjectivesCrises facing children todayIssues affecting schools and the educational systemWhat is a green school?General benefits of green schoolsSpecific benefits of building design, outdoor p g g ,classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,exposure to natureExamples of green schoolsSchool as a therapeutic environmentCall to actionQuestions
  91. 91. What Do We Do?“The decline in children’s experience of nature will not change until a fundamental shift occurs in attitudes and practices of developers, designers, educators, political leaders, and ordinary citizens. The enormous , y challenge facing us is how to minimize and mitigate the adverse environmental impacts of the modern built environment and how to provide more positive opportunities for contact with nature among children and adults as an integral part of everyday life.” - Dr. Stephen R. Kellert, Building for Life
  92. 92. Call to ActionLast Child in the Woods, byRichard Louv, published 2005April 24, 2006: Louv calls fora nationwide campaign to“Leave No Child Inside” and amovement to reconnectchildren with natureLeave No Child Inside vs.No Child Left Behind
  93. 93. No Child Left InsideApril 2006 - Children and Nature Network (C&NN)established t build and support the “Leave N Child t bli h d to b ild d t th “L NoInside” movementMore than 40 state and regional campaigns -Adirondacks, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, SanFrancisco Bay Area, Connecticut, Florida, Colorado,Georgia, New York, Texas, British Columbia,Netherlands…
  94. 94. Children and Nature Movement PrinciplesParents, guardians, educators, health careprofessionals and other individuals responsible forthe welfare of children, must know about the health,emotional and cognitive benefits of nature for childrenParents and other positive adults (teachers) must beintentional about taking children into natureThe benefits of the nature experience for children andfamilies must be part of the international, national andcommunity d b t about the future of health care it debates b t th f t f h lthand public health, education, economics, and thehealth of natural ecosystems
  95. 95. National Forum on Children and Nature Conservation Fund Governors, mayors, Governors mayors cabinet secretaries, corporate CEO’s, non government non-government organizations Help raise awareness about the problems facing our children and the role that nature can play in addressing these problems
  96. 96. Call to Action“Concerns about long-term consequences - affecting emotional well-being, physical health, health learning abilities environmental abilities, consciousness - have spawned a national movement to ‘leave no child inside.’ In recent months, it has been the focus of Capitol Hill hearings, state legislative action, grassroots projects, U.S. projects a U S Forest Service initiative to get more children into the woods and a national effort to promote a ‘green hour’ in each day.” -Washington Post, June, 2007
  97. 97. Legislative ActionOutdoor Classroom initiative approved in NewMexicoM iLeave No Child Inside initiative by Washington Gov.Christine Gregoire allocates $1.5 million/year to g youtdoor programs working with underserved childrenCalifornia has established long-term funding foroutdoor education and recreation programs servingat-risk youthNationally: New caucus in the US House ofRepresentatives to raise awareness of and promotethe benefits of green schoolsNationally: No Child Left Inside Act introduced in theHouse and SH d Senate, d i t designed t b i environmental d to bring i t leducation back to the classroom
  98. 98. Program SupportParents don t act because of fear don’t(“stranger danger”) and “generationalamnesia”Need to support organizations andinstitutions that help reconnectchildren with nature: Green schools Camps p Outdoor education programs Scouts Nature centers N t t
  99. 99. Local GovernmentCould help launch a Leave No Child Inside pcampaign in our areaLegislators can introduce bills to establish natureeducation partnerships among parks and schools, d i hi k d h leducators and farmersBuild collaborations between the Departments ofInterior, Education, Agriculture, and Health andHuman Services that focus on children and nature
  100. 100. Education ReformReturn nature to our schoolsR t t t h l Encourage field trips, natural playgrounds, outdoor classroomsSupport educators who are sponsoring natureclubs, nature classroom activities, and nature , ,field tripsSupport environmental education in theclassroom and experiential l l d i ti l learning outdoors i tdSupport existing and new nature-themedschools
  101. 101. Education ReformGreen the schoolyards and the K-12 curricula U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Schoolyard Habitat program Project Learning Tree and Project WILDEstablish farms and ranches as “the newschoolyards” (New Mexico is looking into thisalready)Work fW k for reform of the No Child Left Behind f f th N L ft B hi dAct, at the national, state and local levels
  102. 102. Health Care ReformEducate the population on how theenvironment can improve healthHealthH lth care providers should establish id h ld t bli hchildren’s contact with nature as a leadingpublic health issuePediatricians and other health professionalscould support a “Grow Outside!” campaign topromote the physical and mental healthbenefits of nature play.
  103. 103. Health Care ReformAt the national level, health care associationsshould support nature therapy as an additionto the traditional approaches to attention-deficit disorders and childhood depression.Free play i natural surroundings and natureF l in t l di d ttherapy would be most easily incorporatedinto a school day at a “green school ” green school.
  104. 104. Spread the Word!Offer presentations to school boards, p parent-teacher associations and similar groups, making the case for the educational benefits of nature experience for children and young p p people.
  105. 105. ResearchInterest in the relationship of natureexperiences to human health, cognition,creativity and well being is growing well-beingNeed to conceptually expand areas of studyfor future researchEconomic studies of the regional and nationalimpact of the nature-deficit Measure potential health savings Improved school performance Financial impact of expanded nature recreation for children and young people
  106. 106. Research - EconomicEstablish ways to measure the economicimportance of nature Include th I l d the positive economic impact on the iti i i t th public’s mental and physical health, education, and jobsEstablish baseline measurements of thenature deficit, so that progress can bemeasured and reportedInclude annual progress measurements innew or existing reports on children’s health g pand educational status
  107. 107. Research*While most research has been done on adults, a growing body of evidence suggests the positive power of nature engagement during the most vulnerable years of human development*
  108. 108. Take Home MessageOur lti tO ultimate goal i d l is deep cultural lt l change, connecting children to nature, so that they can be healthier, happier and smarter. , pp
  109. 109. Case StudyThe back page of the October issue of San Francisco magazine displays a vivid photograph of a small boy, eyes wide with excitement and joy leaping and running on a joy, great expanse of California beach, storm clouds and towering waves behind him. A short article explains that the boy was hyperactive, he had been kicked out of his school, school and his parents had not know what to do with him - but they observed how nature engaged and soothed him. So for years they took their t k th i son t bto beaches, f h forests, d t dunes and d rivers to let nature do its work.
  110. 110. Case StudyThe photograph was taken in 1907.The boy was Ansel Adams Adams.
  111. 111. Goals and ObjectivesCrises facing children todayIssues affecting schools and the educational systemWhat is a green school?General benefits of green schoolsSpecific benefits of building design, outdoor p g g ,classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,exposure to natureExamples of green schoolsSchool as a therapeutic environmentCall to actionQuestions
  112. 112. Questions
  113. 113. References1) Bell, A.C. Bell A C and Dyment J E “Grounds for Action: Promoting Physical Dyment, J.E. Grounds Activity through School Ground Greening in Canada.” 2006 Evergreen.2) Burdette, H.L., MD, MS; and Whitaker. R.C., MD, MPH. “Resurrecting Free Play in Young Children: Looking Beyond Fitness and Fatness to Attention, Affiliation and Affect.” Arch Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. 2005; 159:46-50.3) ) “California Student Assessment Project Phase Two: The Effects of j Environment-Based Education on Student Achievement.” SEER: Poway, CA, 2005. Available at www.seer.org4) Charles, C., Louv, R., Bodner, L., and Guns, B. (2008). Children and Nature 2008: A Report on the Movement to Reconnect Children to the Natural World. Children and Nature Network. Available at: http://www.cnaturenet.org5) “Effects of Outdoor Education Programs for Children in California.” American Institutes for Research: Palo Alto CA: 2005 Available on Alto, 2005. the Sierra Club web site.
  114. 114. References6) Frumkin, H, MD and Louv, R. “Conserving Land; Preserving Human Health.” Land Trust Alliance - Special Report in The Future of Land Conservation in America; 23-25.7) Jackson, R.J., MD, Jackson R J MD MPH and Tester J MD MPH “Environment Tester, J., MD, MPH. Environment Shapes Health, Including Children’s Mental Health.” JAACAP, 2008; 47(2), 129-31.8) Kats, Gregory (2006). Greening America’s Schools: Costs and Benefits. Available at: http://www.cap-e.com9) Kellert, Stephen R. “Nature and Childhood Development.” In Building for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2005. g , ,10) Kuo, F.E. and Taylor, A.F. “A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence from a National Study.” In American Journal of Public Health, 94(9). 2004. American Public Health Association Association.
  115. 115. References11) Lieberman, G A and Hoody L L “Closing the Achievement Gap: Lieberman G.A. Hoody, L.L. Closing Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning.” SEER: Poway, CA, 1998. “California Student Assessment Project.” SEER: Poway, CA, 2000. Available at: www.seer.org12) Louv, Richard. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Louv Richard Nature-Deficit Disorder. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. 2005.13) “Nature Nurtures: Investigating the Potential of School Grounds.” 2000 Evergreen. www.evergreen.ca14) Taylor, A.F., Kuo, F. “Is Contact with Nature Important for Healthy Child Development? State of the Evidence.” In Spencer, C & Blades, M (Eds), Children and Their Environments: Learning, Using and Designing Spaces. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, g g p g , g y , 2006.
  116. 116. References15) Taylor, A.F., Kuo, F., and Sullivan, W.C. (2001). Coping with ADD: The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings. Environment and Behavior, 33(1), 54-77. Available at: http://www.lhhl.uiuc.edu16) Taylor, A.F., Kuo, F., and Sullivan, W.C. (2001). “Views of Nature and Self-Discipline: E id S lf Di i li Evidence ffrom IInner Cit Child City Children.” I Th J ” In The Journal of l f Environmental Psychology, 21.17) Wallis, C. and Steptoe, S. “How to Fix No Child Left Behind,” Education Special Report Time Magazine; 169 (23) 34-41 Report. (23), 34-41.18) Wells, N.M. “At Home with Nature: Effects of ‘Greenness’ on Children’s Cognitive Functioning.” Environment and Behavior, 32(6), 775-795.19) Wells, N.M. and Evans, G.W. “Nearby Nature: A Buffer of Life Stress Among Rural Children.” Environment and Behavior, 35(3), 311-330.
  117. 117. Additional ResourcesChildren and Nature NetworkChild dN t N t k www.cnaturenet.orgThe Sheltowee Schoolwww.sheltoweeschool.orgKY Green and Healthy Schools Schoolswww.buildgreenschools.orgLife Adventure
  118. 118. For more informationContact Tiffany Sauls, MD at tsaulsmd@gmail com or call 859-489-7106