Outdoor learning: Education’s next revolution?

A growing body of research suggests that exposing students to nature could yield extraordinary results

If you’ve been out of school for a while, your memory of time spent in classrooms may be bathed in a nostalgic glow. In reality, though, you probably spent a lot of your time looking at the clock, bored out of your mind. Most students are expected to sit in chairs and pay attention for as many as eight hours per day–and that is even before taking homework into account. Considering these long hours, it’s no surprise that many students report feeling bogged down by drudgery. An Indiana State University study found that nearly half of students feel bored everyday, half of students report skipping school at least “once or twice,” and 20 percent consider dropping out entirely. Disengagement is — and perhaps always has been — one of education’s greatest quandaries.

But what if the problem with school is the building itself, the brick-and-mortar structure wherein rows (or sometimes semi-circles) of desks face an oppressive whiteboard?Erin Kenny, the founder of the U.S.’s first “forest kindergarten,” Cedarsong Nature School, thinks that is exactly the problem. She established her “forest

Technology Education at Young Age Helps Keep Kids Safe


We live in a time when technology is a huge part of our daily routine.

We can’t live without our computer, and we get antsy if we can’t check a Twitter notification as soon as our phone vibrates.

And children and young adults are even more attached, almost constantly juggling their Instagram, Twitter and other social media apps on their phones, iPads or tablets and laptops.

“With technology being a necessity of life, it’s opened the door for more criminals to use technology,” said Chief Craig Corkrean of the Granville Police Department in Monongalia County.

“It’s important that we educate everyone using technology at a young age so they learn good habits.”

There are many different types of Internet crimes, but online predators can put children at risk of sexual assault, abduction and other abuse. A recent example is the murder of a 16-year-old Kanawha County girl who police say posted an ad on Craigslist offering sex for money. Officials said she and the suspect in her murder had met on at least two different occasions for sex.

West Virginia police departments have collaborated with the State

Why Character Counts

Character Strengths

It’s simple. Character counts because character increases well-being and leads to a life of fulfillment.

It is widely acknowledged that character –not beauty, high test scores, or wealth – account for life satisfaction. So how do children develop character during their academic climb from kindergarten through high school?

Educational goals of developing intelligence are well articulated and their outcomes can be measured. Until now, however, character strengths were less defined and not as measurable.

Martin Luther King Jr. understood why character counts most. At a speech at Morehouse College in 1948, he said, “We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

When I reflect on King’s statement, I think of my closest friends and the people I most respect. I am drawn to them by forces beyond intellect and success. I admire their character strengths, the values they hold, and how they treat me as a fellow human being. So when we think of education in the broadest sense of the word, it is important to consider how kids develop character during

Law essay writing checklist

If you are a law school student, you are familiar with the crucial need in writing law essays. For student, who manages to write law school essay, broad knowledge of UK or USA laws is not enough, he also needs to know how to write a law essay and how to make it attractive to your readers. To tell the truth, this is not as simple as saying it. Of course, the easiest way to manage it is to buy law essays, but if you want to be a professional lawyer, you should know that this is a preparation for future defensive and accuse speeches, so here you can find some useful tools on how to write a law essay on the highest grade.
The first thing you should pay attention to is law essay introduction. Its value is immense. Reading this part, your reader will decide, is it necessary to read the whole article at all. Consequently, writing law essays you have to introduce key points of you’re investigating into law essay introduction. That should be provided in the form of thought-provoking question, remarkable fact or even useful anecdote. It should encourage your reader to the further

7 Reasons Why Your Child Should Practice Martial Arts

“The martial arts are ultimately self-knowledge. A punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups.”

– Bruce Lee

Recently on a visit back home, I met my one of my close friends at his son’s martial arts studio so I could drop in and see what young Ethan was up to. Ethan was one step away from getting his white sash in Poekoelan, an Indonesian martial art. He beamed with pride as we watched him do various forms and drills. Shortly after I left town, Ethan earned his white sash, upon which he got to join the big kids in the adjacent room. There the big kids practice more advanced forms, techniques, and even some sparring. He was thrilled.

Ethan’s always been a good kid, but from what I observed the martial arts gave him quite a healthy dose of self esteem and self respect – two of the many benefits one gains with participation in them. Whether your kid is too bossy, too shy, or perhaps just a little hyper, the martial arts can help your child learn many

3 educational outdoor games

Games that teach

A recent study by The Kaiser Family Foundation found that today’s eight to 18-year-olds spend an average of 7-1/2 hours each day using entertainment media, leaving learning and outdoor play last on their list of priorities. Looking for educational games that are so fun your kids won’t know they’re learning? Get your family’s minds and bodies moving with these three educational outdoor games.
Balloon math

A test of math and agility add up to fun when you combine balloons, equations and a lot of outdoor space. Youngsters must find and complete the next step in a math problem before the previous balloon hits the ground, requiring quick math skills on your feet when they play games that teach.

  1. Fill balloons with air and write a number or math symbol on each balloon, spread around on the ground.
  2. Starting with a number balloon, have your kiddo toss it into the air and call out the number.
  3. Before the balloon falls, he must find a balloon with a math symbol, toss it into the air and call out the symbol.
  4. Continue with the math equation through the sum before each preceding balloon falls. Whoever completes the most math problems before each of their

Teaching Health Education in School

Many parents are keenly interested in the basic academic education of their youngsters—reading, writing, and arithmetic—but are not nearly as conscientious in finding out about the other learning that goes on in the classroom. A comprehensive health education pro­gram is an important part of the curriculum in most school districts. Starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school, it pro­vides an introduction to the human body and to factors that prevent illness and promote or damage health.

The middle years of childhood are extremely sensitive times for a number of health issues, especially when it comes to adopting health behavior that can have lifelong consequences. Your youngster might be exposed to a variety of health themes in school: nutrition, disease prevention, physical growth and development, reproduction, mental health, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, consumer health, and safety (cross­ing streets, riding bikes, first aid, the Heimlich maneuver). The goal of this ed­ucation is not only to increase your child’s health knowledge and to create positive attitudes toward his own well-being but also to promote healthy be­havior. By going beyond simply increasing knowledge, schools are asking for more involvement on the part of students than in many other subject areas. Children

Zika Virus, save the children

Zika Virus

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus from the same family as yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, West Nile, and Japanese encephalitis viruses. Zika virus is primarily transmitted to humans by infected Aedes mosquitoes. Reported Zika outbreaks in humans had been limited in size until April last year, when the virus was reported in Brazil. Since then, cases have been reported in many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Who’s At Risk

Although anyone can contract the virus, the greatest threat is to unborn babies. Medical professionals strongly suspect that there is a link between microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies and Zika infection in their mothers whilst pregnant. The number of those at risk increases in correlation with the population of Aedes mosquitos. Countries in South and Central America with tropical climates are currently in their dry season: as they enter the rainy season there is likely to be an increase in the size of mosquito populations, which may raise the overall risk of Zika virus.

How It’s Treated

There is currently no specific treatment or vaccine available. The best protection against Zika is prevention, which consists of reducing mosquito bites through the use of mosquito nets, insect repellents containing DEET,

Benefits of Homeschooling: How It Could Make Kids Smarter

What is homeschooling

Many parents choose to teach their children at home, instead of enrolling them and making them study within the formal settings of public or private schools.  With homeschooling, the parents take full responsibility of their children’s education.  It is intense parenting, as parents spend more time with their children, doing the hard work and having the patience to educate their kids.

Mitchell Stevens, a Stanford professor who wrote Kingdom of Children, a history of homeschooling, reveals that homeschooling, which was used to be popular in rural areas, is now being practiced widely in America’s cities as well, with children of secular, highly educated professionals as students.  Advances in digital learning and availability of resources over the internet also make homeschooling easier and more effective than ever.

Why homeschool?

Parents cite these reasons on why they homeschool their children:

  • Can give child better education at home
  • Religious reasons – allow to teach faith in depth
  • Poor learning environment at school
  • Family reasons
  • To develop character/morality
  • Object to what school teaches
  • School does not challenge child
  • Other problems with available schools
  • Student behavior problems at school
  • Child has special needs/disability
  • Transportation/convenience
  • Child not old enough to enter school
  • Child could not get into desired school
  • Enable family to travel

Benefits of Homeschooling

Homeschooling, though, in many cases, can reap

Game On: 10 Best Sports for Kids with ADHD or Learning Disabilities

Choosing the right sport or activity for your child with ADHD/LD can make all the difference in boosting focus, mood, and self-esteem. Here, parents and experts recommend after-school activities that work particularly well for ADHD kids.

Not All Sports Are Created Equal

Exercise can help control ADHD symptoms by raising the baseline levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. So registering your ADHD child for an after-school sport is a great idea, right? Well, it depends. Not all sports are created equal; depending on your child’s unique set of symptoms, certain sports may be more advantageous than others. Use this list to determine which activities will showcase and strengthen your child’s abilities so she can shine on the court, in the field, or in the pool.

The Coach Matters

When picking a sport, remember that coaches have a huge impact. Most coaches are well-meaning parents who know little about ADHD, so it’s important that you share your expertise about your child. Let a coach know, for example, that making your child run 15 extra laps for not paying attention during practice is not effective, just humiliating. Sports should allow your child to build relationships and work on self-confidence outside of the

21 Life Lessons Kids Learn Through Youth Sports

Youth sports are going to teach young players a lot more than how to shoot a basketball or how to use a pick-and-roll, there are a lot of life lessons players will learn on their journey through participation in youth sports.

These life lessons are by far the most important part of participation in youth sports. Not winning a few basketball tournaments or making a highly competitive team.

Let’s be honest, players have a very, very slim chance of playing professional sports. I don’t say this to be harsh or pessimistic, but to emphasise the importance of focusing on how you can help every single player you coach. Not just the 2 or 3 in 10,000 that end up playing professionally.

You can make a difference in their lives long-term by helping them learn the 21 important life lessons listed below that I believe all kids learn through youth sports.

1. It’s Okay to Make Mistakes

There will be many times when players make mistakes during games or practice. Whether that be losing the basketball in a dribbling drill, turning the ball over during a game, or taking a bad shot.

Coaches have to reassure their players that it’s okay to make these mistakes, they’re learning experiences.

A good coach will challenge

Outdoor Education

Obesity, School Camps & Paedophiles

Our Obesity Problem

Yesterday I was reading about the issue of the large amount of people (including children) being overweight. According to www.news-medical.net, obesity and overweight people have in the last decade become a global problem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO – www.who.int) back in 2005 approximately 1.6 billion adults over the age of 15 were overweight, at least 400 million adults were obese, and at least 20 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight. Experts believe if the current trends continue by 2015 approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese. The scale of the obesity problem has a number of serious consequences for individuals and government health systems.

This really is an alarming issue and I believe there is a desperate need to encourage our young and old to adventure outdoors more often. I believe that we can learn so much from each other and outdoor adventure programs are in essence designed to rejuvenate that love for the outdoors. So I wonder if you would agree with me by saying that: “Outdoor recreation could be the best obesity problem solver there is!”

We must keep

The Benefits of Sports for Children with Special Needs

Children with special needs can make great gains playing sports, whether in programs just for them or on integrated teams.

Sporting endeavors are a quintessential part of childhood, and experts agree that children benefit from them. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, girls do better in school, boost their self-esteem, and learn teamwork and goal setting. Boys can learn leadership skills, establish new friendships, and channel their energy. Both sexes can establish a life-long relationship with physical fitness, too.

Children with physical and mental disabilities, however, often face hurdles when they try to join sports teams. Incredibly, competitive coaches may not want a child with limitations on their team. Others fear that they won’t be able to effectively coach the child or manage medical emergencies that could occur.

That does not – and should not! – stop parents from getting their children with disabilities onto the playing field.

As a parent of three girls with autism, Kim Stagliano enrolled Mia, Gianna, and Bella in a TOPSoccer league in Fairfield County. TOPSoccer is a national program which serves athletes with disabilities. The program is designed to allow any boy or girl with a mental or physical disability to thrive on the soccer field.

In addition to

How to make your kid hate sports without really trying

Christine Carugati, 18, of Langhorne, Pennyslvania started getting recruited to play college lacrosse the summer after the ninth grade. You heard that right — when she just finished her freshman year in high school.

“What ninth grader knows what they want and what ninth grader, never mind an adult, isn’t easily swayed, thinking somebody wants me. It’s very intoxicating for any age but for a child especially, so my counsel was to keep all your options open,” said her mom, Mary Carugati, during an interview.

And now it appears the courting process is starting even earlier. Syracuse University made headlines recently with word that an eighth-grade girl had verbally committed to play on its women’s lacrosse team, a move that appears to be the youngest ever commitment to a men’s or women’s college lacrosse team, according to Lacrosse magazine.

Terry Norpel Dzelzgalvis, who coached recreational league lacrosse for 12 years and played lacrosse at the University of Pennsylvania, said the trend to younger and younger commitments is a big concern in youth sports today.

“It’s ridiculous, and the parents aren’t putting their feet down,” she said. (Full disclosure: Norpel Dzelzgalvis and I are friends from college.)

Cell Phones for Kids: When is the right time?

Not so long ago, giving children their own cell phones was an extravagance. As recently as 2004, just 18 percent of 12-year-olds had joined the mobile revolution, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Jump to 2011, and the same study reveals that 58 percent of 12-year-olds — and almost 75 percent of kids ages 12 to 17 — has his or her own phone. Even schools have gotten onboard, many of them easing restrictions so kids can bring their phones to school as long as they don’t use them in class.

The switch from “extravagance” to perceived necessity came quickly, and many parents are surprised to learn their tween is, apparently, the only one of his or her friends who doesn’t have one (please, please, please!). The decision over who should and should not get to call, text and surf on the go is one that a lot parents are dealing with much earlier than they expected, and it’s a tough one: OK, at 17, it makes sense, since older teens spend a lot of time on their own and might need (actually need) to call someone. But 12? Eleven? Even 10 years old?

Every child is different, and there’s

How important is technology in education?

The world is changing, and sometimes it probably seems you’re in a race to catch up. The latest technology probably takes a chunk out of your yearly budget, and then you have to reeducate yourself about how to do things in new and different ways — like how to turn the flat screen on and off or set the programmable timer on your HVAC system.

Sure, technology is neat. It can make it easy to video conference with your associates in Tokyo or read the headlines on your tablet while Web surfing at your favorite java joint. You can bank, shop, research your medical symptoms and get free legal advice all online. You can use technology to plot your driving route to Disney World, complete with turn-by-turn verbal instructions. If driving is too much of a hassle, you can investigate the best airline deals and accommodations with a click of your trusty mouse. And these are just a few of the more straightforward things technology can do to make your life easier.

You may be concerned about the collateral damage caused by technology, like loss of privacy, but like a rushing tide, technological advancements are always coming — and they’re coming fast.

10 Major Technology Trends in Education

We have a first look at the results from the latest Speak Up survey, which polled hundreds of thousands of teachers, students, administrators, parents and community members about technology trends in education.

According to the latest data, video for homework is on the rise; mobile computing is “beyond the tipping point”; and most kids don’t use traditional computers to connect to the Internet at home. Those are just three of the major trends revealed in the 2013 Speak Up Survey from Project Tomorrow, which CEO Julie Evans revealed at the FETC 2014 conference last week.

The 2013 results represent more than 400,000 surveys from 9,000 schools and 2,700 districts across the country. Respondents included 325,279 students, 32,151 teachers and librarians, 39,986 parents, 4,530 district administrators and, new to this year’s survey, 1,346 community members.

1. Personal Access to Mobile Devices

According to the 2013 results, students overwhelmingly have access to personal mobile devices. “If there was any doubt in our mind that we were beyond the tipping point in terms of kids carrying a computer in their pocket, backpack or purse,” she said, “we’re there.”

Specifically, said Evans, 89 percent of high schools students have access to Internet-connected smart phones, while 50 percent of students

10 Ways to Motivate Your Child to Learn

If you want your child to be a stellar student, don’t limit learning to the walls of his classroom. Although the skills he’s learning there are crucial to his intellectual and social growth, your child needs your help to open up the world of ideas. His renewed joy in discovery will transfer to his schoolwork, so you’ll boost his academic achievement too!

  • Fill your child’s world with reading.

Take turns reading with your older child, or establish a family reading time when everyone reads her own book. Demonstrate how important reading is to you by filling your home with printed materials: novels, newspapers, even posters and placemats with words on them.

  • Encourage him to express his opinion, talk about his feelings, and make choices.

He can pick out a side dish to go with dinner and select his own extracurricular activities. Ask for his input on family decisions, and show that you value it.

  • Show enthusiasm for your child’s interests and encourage her to explore subjects that fascinate her.

If she’s a horse nut, offer her stories about riding or challenge

Let the Kids Learn Through Play

TWENTY years ago, kids in preschool, kindergarten and even first and second grade spent much of their time playing: building with blocks, drawing or creating imaginary worlds, in their own heads or with classmates. But increasingly, these activities are being abandoned for the teacher-led, didactic instruction typically used in higher grades. In many schools, formal education now starts at age 4 or 5. Without this early start, the thinking goes, kids risk falling behind in crucial subjects such as reading and math, and may never catch up.

The idea seems obvious: Starting sooner means learning more; the early bird catches the worm.

But a growing group of scientists, education researchers and educators say there is little evidence that this approach improves long-term achievement; in fact, it may have the opposite effect, potentially slowing emotional and cognitive development, causing unnecessary stress and perhaps even souring kids’ desire to learn.

One expert I talked to recently, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a professor emerita of education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., describes this trend as a “profound misunderstanding of how children learn.” She regularly tours schools, and sees younger students floundering

Teachers Can Develop Character Strengths


A teacher’s job extends far beyond academics.

While teachers are hired to develop children’s skills and abilities in academics like reading, writing, history, geography, and math, there is a lot more going on in the classroom than meets the eye.

Opportunities abound for students to develop hope, fairness, humor, valor, appreciation, and many other character strengths that lead to fulfilling lives. For some teachers, this is a natural extension of the job they do on behalf of children.

Building character strengths in children is the mutual responsibility of families, schools, and communities. In Part I of this series, we defined character strengths and introduced the VIA Survey of Character. In Part 2, we examined how parents help build character strengths by changing the way they give praise and by helping kids recognize character strengths in others.  This article shows how one teacher is building a classroom environment that places character front and center.

In his recent article School Made Easy: Character Education is the Key, Dr. Neal Mayerson, Chairman of the VIA Institute, points out that teachers choose the type of culture to create in their classrooms.  Cultures

How Families Develop Character in Children


Parents and families play a key role in character development.

Parents who create positive home learning environments know that communicating about academics and homework is important.  They also understand that family values get passed from one generation to the next.  But how we instill values and character strengths in kids often seems mysterious.  Is it through discipline, living our own values, treating kids with respect, or a combination of the many ways we interact with our children?

Maria Rose Reifler, a fifth grade teacher in East Los Angeles, recently asked, “Where are the parents?” And for good reason.  Children are losing hope, giving up on life, and feeling insecure about themselves at alarmingly young ages.

Parents can help reverse this trend by building character strengths in children. In Part I of this series of articles, we defined character strengths and introduced the VIA Survey of Character. This article describes ways that families talk about and reinforce character strengths from preschool through adolescence.

Give Meaningful Praise

I often hear parents of young children say “Good job!” when a child does something noteworthy. But do children understand the message behind this general statement?

As children get older, they get more and more