Outdoor Ed

Outdoor Ed

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  • Teachers, did you know that a national survey showed that the avg. 8-18 yr. old spends 7.5 hrs. per day indoors looking at electronic screens?
  • Only 14% walk to school compared to 50% 20 yrs. ago. Represents a disturbing trend toward indoor childhoods.
  • Rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma on the rise. Lifespans 3-5 yrs shorter due to inactive, indoor lifestyles.
  • Reflected in school as an inability to concentrate, more aggresive behavior and higher chances for personal isolation
  • Solutions well within reach and fairly simple. More regular, active, unstructured play time outdoors, more exposure to green, vegetated settings
  • School's role is to provide outdoor education and activities.
  • Research shows that positive gains in at risk 6th graders in self -esteem, leadership, relationships with peers, motivation to learn, cooperation, conflict resolution, problem solving and behavior in class can be realized after participation in a 1 week residential outdoor education program.
  • A national study provides evidence that exposure to natural outdoor environments reduces symptoms of ADHD.
  • Other research shows improved standardized test scores and GPAs, decreased absenteeism, improved attitudes toward learning and decreased discipline referrals for students in outdoor education programs. Many people naturally associate outdoor education with improved understanding of science but it also contributes to the basic skills of reading and writing.
  • Tanya Sulikowski the Manager of Outdoor Education at the Duke Farms Foundation Hillsborough, NJ has many amazing success stories to share from her experiences with students from the Barack Obama Green Charter High School, an urban school in Plainfield, NJ. whose students spend 1 day a month in her program.
  • As an experienced classroom teacher she has insights on how you can improve your students' performance by using the Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning.
  • In conclusion we owe it to ourselves as teachers to look at ways to incorporate outdoor learning into our teaching. The positive effects on our students' overall academic performance, including higher standardized test scores are compelling reasons.
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