Outdoors

The Outdoor Revolution

Give Them More

There is a push in modern education for more.  More hours. More requirements. More technology. More studying. More subjects to cover. Just more!  How about more time outside?  This may seem counter to a modern, progressive education but it is a growing trend with established roots.

 

Time outdoors in all kinds of weather is not anything new.  Charlotte Mason, a famous educator from the turn of the twentieth century, advocated long hours outside exploring, playing, and experiencing nature. Her methods presented a gentler approach to education that also build a strong foundation.

 

In this high paced, cutting edge world, Ms. Mason’s techniques are gaining popularity and a fresh take.  Nature based education is nothing new but it is gaining momentum as we realize our children are deprived of the simple pleasures of the great outdoors there is actually a new disorder! Nature Deficit Disorder is a widespread problem with an easy cure, give kids more time outdoors.

 

Around the World

In Finland, where education is nearly the opposite of the rest of the world, children are given multiple recesses, play breaks outdoors in any weather–even the cold, Nordic winter.  Up to four outdoor times are planned each day for unstructured play.  This play does not take away from education, it is education for these children.

 

In an effort to return to nature, there is a new movement in Germany called Waldkingergarten or Forest School.  These schools are housed in the great forests of Germany.  Students are dropped off in the morning and picked up sometime in the afternoon.  They spend their entire days outside, even having meals together on the forest floor.

 

You may wonder what do these children learn from days of wandering the forest?  Well, recent studies have shown that “Forest Kindergarten children come well-prepared for school and that they are often ahead of their school mates physically, mentally and in their social behaviour.”

 

In the United States, a similar movement is occurring with Tinkergarten.  Bringing young children outdoors to experience and create, this program is building an education foundation built on curiosity and teamwork.

 

What Does All this Mean for Education?

As we forge ahead into the tech-savvy twenty-first century, we must be mindful of not cutting our children off from their roots in nature.  The importance of learning the latest innovation must never crowd out children’s need to be children.  Children play, wiggle, and wonder – that is their nature.  By creating space, time, and opportunity for young people to unplug, stretch their legs, and breath fresh air, we will not be wasting valuable time but investing in the health and well being of future generations.

As One Planet, One People, understanding, appreciating, and conserving the natural world serves everyone around the planet.  Providing the latest technology will change the face of education and teach something new. However, some things never change, and children were built to learn and explore, especially outdoors.  Play, laughter, and dreams are a language that unite us all.

 

Where are you exploring? What have you learned from these experiences?

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When does learning begin?

Learning Begins When?

When Does Learning Begin?

When did you learn to read?  How about learning to tell time?  How old were you when you learned your multiplication facts?  We measure learning in stages and many consider learning to begin when formal education does.  In fact, learning begins much sooner.

 

In a recent study, researchers discovered that significant language learning occurs 10 weeks before birth.  We have know for a long time that babies in utero are experiencing all that is around them, however they are also acquiring language skills that will fuel their development after birth.

 

The four arts of language–listening, speaking, reading, writing–are the building blocks of education.  The language arts are what allow us to study all the other disciplines and synthesize what we have learned.  They are also what fuels collaboration and the ability to problem solve.

 

Early learning happens rapidly and without formal instruction.  Children are soaking up all that is around them. Experiences, and the lack there of, greatly shape not only the amount of learning but the potential for learning in the future.  Likewise, we cannot wait for a classroom to educate our children.  Research has shown that the most significant indicator of future learning, is a child’s first five years. This is when the hardware of the brain is built and connects laid.  In addition, the child’s approach to learning and others is solidified.

 

A study by the National Center for Education Statistics showed that the gap in achievement existed from the beginning of kindergarten.

 

“Children’s brains and children’s attitudes are formed in the first five years of life, and children’s opportunity to learn is affected by the homes in which they grow, the communities in which they grow, their respect for learning, their respect for teachers,” says Ravitch. The makings of the achievement gap are already there on the first day of school, and it’s correlated with “different ethnic backgrounds, where poverty and affluence matter a great deal.” (source)

 

The conclusion, learning begins at home and within those first moments of life.  Education is not just a system or a progression through grade levels, it is the development of attitudes, knowledge, and brain connections that lead to a deeper understanding of the world, ability to evaluate data, and the desire to know more.

 

Education for all is not just an economic boon, it is an opportunity for a brighter future for all.  Through an appreciation for lifelong learning and access to educational resources and opportunities, the next generation will have the groundwork laid for their higher achievement.

 

Just as education does not begin in school, it does not end there either. This is why events like Global Learn Day are so vital to the improvement of every citizen of the world.  By lifting one, we lift them all.  We must each choose to never stop learning and pledge to bring the fortuity of educational enrichment to those who still lack this basic need.

 

As One Planet, One People, we have the opportunity and obligation to keep the tide of innovation going but never lose sight of the small steps that have huge impacts.  Exposing babies, still in the womb, to quality language that is free from violence, stress, and excessive volume. By supporting families, we are educating the future.

 

For as Diane Ravich points out, “There is a kind of a wiser understanding of how children grow and develop and learn that recognizes that children’s first educator is their family, and that nurturance really matters.”

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Education is Its' Own Language

Education is Its’ Own Language

What was your first language?

 

Spanish? English? French? Education? Wait. What? Education isn’t a language! I would argue that it is. Language is a means for people to communicate, to reach an understanding. Can education not help within those areas? It can and does.

 

Education is a way to come together and communicate with each other. I might have nothing in common with the person standing next to me. We can come from different cultures, have different religions and different languages. The one thing we might share is an understanding of math, or a love of Victorian authors, or Renaissance artists. It is our education about things that allow us to seek and find common ground with those around us.

 

The all-encompassing mission of Global Learn Day is that while we celebrate mankind’s learning we are promoting the concept of “One Planet, One People”. We are a collaborative people, building up ideas one on top of the other, expounding on previous research. It is through this language of education that we come together and improve the human condition.

 

This link lists 100 influential scientists. Looking through the list you find individuals from a variety of eras, cultures and languages. They spoke the same language though. Education opened up their mind and engaged their curiosity. Via their education and their willingness to continue to learn they were able to contribute to man’s understanding and knowledge long term.

This is the language of education. The desire to never stop learning, to never stop sharing what you have learned with others. This contribution has the ability to shape the world, to Build a Bridge to the Future. Never stop learning. Never stop speaking the language of education.

What is your favorite thing to learn about?

As always, consider joining us this year for Global Learn Day 2017!