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The Health and Learning Benefits of Green Schools for Our Children Presenter: Tiffany Sauls, MD
The Health and Learning
Benefits of Green Schools for
Our Children
Presenter:
Tiffany Sauls, MD
Goals and Objectives Crises facing children today Issues affecting schools and the educational system What is
Goals and Objectives
Crises facing children today
Issues affecting schools and the educational system
What is a green school?
General benefits of green schools
Specific benefits of building design, outdoor
classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,
exposure to nature
Examples of green schools
School as a therapeutic environment
Call to action
Questions
What do I know? Trained in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Adult Psychiatry and Pediatrics Special interest
What do I know?
Trained in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
Adult Psychiatry and Pediatrics
Special interest in wilderness therapy
Starting a green school for kids with ADHD,
behavior problems, learning disabilities,
depression, anxiety and social skills problems
Avid outdoor enthusiast
Goals and Objectives Crises facing children today Issues affecting schools and the educational system What is
Goals and Objectives
Crises facing children today
Issues affecting schools and the educational system
What is a green school?
General benefits of green schools
Specific benefits of building design, outdoor
classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,
exposure to nature
Examples of green schools
School as a therapeutic environment
Call to action
Questions
Crises facing our Children Obesity Asthma/Allergies ADHD Mood Disorders Impaired social skills Poor academic achievement “Nature-deficit
Crises facing our Children
Obesity
Asthma/Allergies
ADHD
Mood Disorders
Impaired social skills
Poor academic
achievement
“Nature-deficit
disorder”
Nature-Deficit Disorder Diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional
Nature-Deficit Disorder
Diminished use of the senses, attention
difficulties, and higher rates of physical and
emotional illness due directly to alienation
from nature
“Our children no longer learn how to read the
great Book of Nature from their own direct
experience or how to interact creatively with
the seasonal transformations of the planet.
They seldom learn where their water comes
from or where it goes. We no longer
coordinate our human celebration with the
great litergy of the heavens.” - Wendell Berry
How Did We Get Here? More time indoors Increased time with electronics Increased exposure to environmental
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 play”
How did we get here? More time indoors and with electronics “I like to play indoors
How did we get here?
More time indoors and
with electronics
“I like to play indoors
better ‘cause that’s
where all the electrical
outlets are”
- 4th grader in San
Diego
(from Last Child in the
Woods)
Electronics Children between 6 months and 6 years spend an average of 1.5 hours/day with electronic
Electronics
Children between 6 months and
6 years spend an average of 1.5
hours/day with electronic media
Youth between the ages of 8 and
18 spend an average of 6.5
hours/day with electronic media
(Kaiser Family Foundation, 2005
and 2006)
How did we get here?
How did we get here?
How did we get here? Increased exposure to environmental toxins Lead Inhalants Cleaning products Fumes
How did we get here?
Increased exposure to
environmental toxins
Lead
Inhalants
Cleaning products
Fumes
How did we get here? Limited exposure to outdoors/nature “Here is this vast, savage, howling mother
How did we get here?
Limited exposure to outdoors/nature
“Here is this vast, savage, howling
mother of 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”
- Henry David Thoreau
Decreased time outdoors 85% of mothers agree that children play outside less today than just a
Decreased time outdoors
85% of mothers agree that children play
outside less today than just a few years ago
70% of mothers report playing outside every
day when they were young, compared to only
31% of their children (Clements, 2004)
In a typical week, only 6% of children, ages 9
to 13, play outside on their own
Decreased time outdoors From 1997 - 2003, there was a 50% drop in kids 9 -12
Decreased time outdoors
From 1997 - 2003, there was a
50% drop in kids 9 -12 yrs old
who spent time in outdoor
activities such as hiking,
walking, fishing, beach play and
gardening (Hofferth and
Sandberg, 2001; Hofferth and
Curtin, 2006)
Education-based outings at
Outdoor Discovery Center in
Michigan are eye-opening
Limited “free play” Play = the spontaneous activity in which children engage to amuse and to
Limited “free play”
Play = the spontaneous activity in
which children engage to amuse and
to occupy themselves
Playtime - especially unstructured,
imaginative, exploratory play - is an
essential component of child
development
Children no longer “play”
How did we get here? Between 1981 and 1997, free playtime decreased 25% Free play and
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
30% decrease in bicycle
riding
What happened to free play? Parents driving in circles to take children to school, after school
What happened to free play?
Parents driving in circles to take
children to school, after school
activities, sports events, dance class,
clubs, church and social activities
Obesity Rates in children have increased from 4% in the 60’s to close to 20% in
Obesity
Rates in children have increased
from 4% in the 60’s to close to
20% in 2004
A 13 year old girl is 16 pounds
heavier today than 30 years ago
60% of obese children, age 5 -
10, have at least one
cardiovascular disease risk factor
JAMA reports an upward trend in
high blood pressure in kids 8 - 18
Obesity
Obesity
Obesity Many health-care leaders worry that the current generation of children may be the first since
Obesity
Many health-care leaders worry that the current
generation of children may be the first since World War
II 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 not
violence or abductions, but “that children’ s health has
sunk to its lowest point in the 30-year history of the
Index, driven largely by an alarming rise in the number
of children who are obese and a smaller decline in
child mortality rates than achieved in recent years.”
Asthma Most common chronic disorder in childhood Affects 6.2 million kids under age 18; 1 in
Asthma
Most common chronic disorder in
childhood
Affects 6.2 million kids under age
18; 1 in 10 of all school children
3rd leading cause of hospitalization
among children under 15
Annual direct health care cost is
approx. $11.5 billion
American Lung Association found
that school children miss more than
14 million school days a year
because of asthma
ADHD AD/HD AD/HD isis relatively common, relatively common, occurring occurring inin roughly roughly 7%7% of of
ADHD
AD/HD
AD/HD isis relatively common,
relatively common,
occurring
occurring inin roughly
roughly 7%7% of
of
school
school--age
age children (>2
children (>2
million affected inin the USA)
million affected
the USA)
AD/HD
AD/HD isis linked
linked toto poor
poor
academic performance
academic performance
AD/HD can have long--lasting
AD/HD can have long
lasting
effects onon social development
effects
social development
Many
Many coco--morbidities
morbidities
ADHD % ever diagnosed (2003)
ADHD
% ever diagnosed (2003)
ADHD Att Attenenti tionon DDeefi ficcitit Hyperactivity Disorder Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) isis (AD/HD) characterized by severe
ADHD
Att
Attenenti tionon DDeefi ficcitit
Hyperactivity Disorder
Hyperactivity Disorder
(AD/HD) isis
(AD/HD)
characterized by severe
characterized by severe
difficulties with
difficulties with
inattention and
inattention and
impulsivity.
impulsivity.
SSyymmpptoms
toms include:
include:
restlessness, outbursts,
restlessness, outbursts,
trouble listening, difficulty
trouble listening, difficulty
ffoollllowowiingng di
direct
rectiions,
ons, anandd
problems focusing
problems focusing onon tasks
tasks
ADHD Treatment Combination of behavioral therapies and Combination of behavioral therapies and stimulant medications stimulant medications
ADHD Treatment
Combination of behavioral therapies and
Combination of behavioral therapies and
stimulant medications
stimulant medications
Medication can have serious side effects
Medication can have serious side effects
The
Theyy hel
helpp onl
onlyy 99 out of 1010 children with ADHD
out of
children with ADHD
There
There isis nono evidence they improve long--term
evidence they improve long
term
social and academic outcomes
social and academic outcomes
Cost and alternatives?
Cost and alternatives?
Mood Disorders “Culture of depression” Approximately 10% of adolescents (2.2 million) experienced at least one m
Mood Disorders
“Culture of depression”
Approximately 10% of adolescents (2.2
million) experienced at least one m ajor peri od
of depression in the past year.
Nearly two-thirds of children and adolescents
suffering from depression also had another
mental health disorder (anxiety, substance
abuse)
Children and adolescents with major
depressive disorder are much more likely to
commit suicide.
Goals and Objectives Crises facing children today Issues affecting schools and the educational system What is
Goals and Objectives
Crises facing children today
Issues affecting schools and the educational
system
What is a green school?
General benefits of green schools
Specific benefits of building design, outdoor
classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,
exposure to nature
Examples of green schools
School as a therapeutic environment
Call to action
Questions
Issues Facing Schools No Child Left Behind Less time outdoors and in physically active pursuits Less
Issues Facing Schools
No Child Left Behind
Less time outdoors and in physically
active pursuits
Less exposure to arts, music and
creative pursuits
Enhanced focus on technology
Unhealthy school buildings
No Child Left Behind 2001 Elementary and Secondary Education Act All students required to attain rade-level
No Child Left Behind
2001 Elementary and
Secondary Education Act
All students required to
attain
rade-level proficiency
in reading and math by 2014
Focus on standards, testing,
accountability measures and
teacher quality
No Child Left Behind Requires states to set standards and develop assessments and annual measurable benchmarks,
No Child Left Behind
Requires states to set standards and
develop assessments and annual
measurable benchmarks, and requires
districts and schools to implement them
States must test public schools in reading
and math every year
Goals for adequate yearly progress (AYP)
NCLB - Positive Aspects Targeted at high poverty, low achieving schools Plight of nation’s underserved children
NCLB - Positive Aspects
Targeted at high poverty, low achieving
schools
Plight of nation’s underserved children is
brought to light
Goal of closing the achievement gap
End “the soft bigotry of low expectations”
- G. W. Bush
Problems with NCLB “One size fits all” approach Some students singled out, others ignored PSSA testing
Problems with NCLB
“One size fits all” approach
Some students singled out, others ignored
PSSA testing affects self-esteem
Progress not rewarded,
only “grade-level”
Problems with NCLB Enhanced focus on test scores vs broader vision of education Focus on reading
Problems with NCLB
Enhanced focus on test scores vs broader vision of
education
Focus on reading and math is narrowing education
Reading instruction has gained 40 minutes/week
Social studies lost 17 minutes/week
Science lost 23 minutes/week
Arizona Desert Elementary no longer teaches
science 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
plus” designation by the AZ dept of education
Problems with NCLB Has not been effective 30,000 educators and concerned citizens have asked for repeal
Problems with NCLB
Has not been effective
30,000 educators and concerned citizens have
asked for repeal
Lawmakers in many states have threatened to
opt out of NCLB
Limited exposure to Creative Pursuits 1/3 of public-school music programs were dropped in the last 10
Limited exposure to Creative
Pursuits
1/3 of public-school music programs
were dropped in the last 10 years.
BUT…Students who studied the arts
>4 years scored 44pts hi her on math
and 59 points higher on verbal section
of SAT.
Technology “Fool’s Gold,” “Silicon faith” Moratorium on computer use in early childhood education 85 experts in
Technology
“Fool’s Gold,” “Silicon faith”
Moratorium on computer use in
early childhood education
85 experts in Neurology,
Psychiatry and Education,
including Diane Ravitch
(former US assistant secretary
of Education) and Marilyn
Benoit (President elect of
AACAP)
School Buildings 20% of Americans go to school everyday 14 million students attend schools considered below
School Buildings
20% of Americans go to school everyday
14 million students attend schools considered
below standard or dangerous
Air is “unfit to breathe” in nearly 15,000
schools
School Buildings “Unfortunately, too many of America’s 55 million elementary through high school students attend schools
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.” -
McElroy, President, American
Federation of Teachers
School Buildings “Children’s health is disproportionately affected by indoor pollutants, while light and air quality affects
School Buildings
“Children’s health is disproportionately affected
by indoor pollutants, while light and air quality
affects their capacity to learn and succeed.” -
Fedrizzi, CEO, U.S. Green Building Council
Higher absenteeism
Increased respiratory ailments
Low motivation
Slower learning
Lower test scores
Increased medical costs
Goals and Objectives Crises facing children today Issues affecting schools and the educational system What is
Goals and Objectives
Crises facing children today
Issues affecting schools and the educational system
What is a green school?
General benefits of green schools
Specific benefits of building design, outdoor
classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,
exposure to nature
Examples of green schools
School as a therapeutic environment
Call to action
Questions
Green and Healthy School Green = adopting behaviors that will allow schools to operate efficiently for
Green and Healthy School
Green = adopting behaviors that will
allow schools to operate efficiently 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, and school
grounds)
Attributes of a Green and Healthy School 1) A team of students, teachers and school administrators
Attributes of a Green and
Healthy School
1) A team of students, teachers and
school administrators who work
together to provide safe, healthy
learning areas
2) A building that operates at high
performance levels for natural
resource conservation and
sustainability
Attributes of a Green and Healthy School 3) An outdoor area used for authentic, place-based education
Attributes of a Green and
Healthy School
3) An outdoor area used for authentic,
place-based education
4) Closes the student achievement gap
using the environment as an integrated
learning context
5) Extends into the community
encouraging environmentally-friendly
practices at home, work and play
Goals and Objectives Crises facing children today Issues affecting schools and the educational system What is
Goals and Objectives
Crises facing children today
Issues affecting schools and the educational system
What is a green school?
General benefits of green schools
Specific benefits of building design, outdoor
classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,
exposure to nature
Examples of green schools
School as a therapeutic environment
Call to action
Questions
Benefits of green schools Physical health: obesity, asthma and other respiratory illnesses Mental health: ADHD, depression,
Benefits of green schools
Physical health: obesity, asthma and other
respiratory illnesses
Mental health: ADHD, depression, social
skills, self-esteem
Educational: problem-solving, academic
achievement, creativity
Community: better relationships, healthier
natural environment, teaches sustainable
practices
Goals and Objectives Crises facing children today Issues affecting schools and the educational system What is
Goals and Objectives
Crises facing children today
Issues affecting schools and the educational system
What is a green school?
General benefits of green schools
Specific benefits of building design, outdoor
classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental
study, exposure to nature
Examples of green schools
School as a therapeutic environment
Call to action
Questions
Green Building Design Less toxic materials Improved ventilation and air quality Natural lighting Sustainable practice Decreased
Green Building Design
Less toxic materials
Improved ventilation and air quality
Natural lighting
Sustainable practice
Decreased resource consumption
Benefits of Green Design Health benefits - asthma, allergies, respiratory illness, cold, flu Decreased absenteeism Lowered
Benefits of Green Design
Health benefits - asthma, allergies,
respiratory illness, cold, flu
Decreased absenteeism
Lowered health care costs
Improved school performance
Closing the achievement gap
Promotes learning opportunities and
environmental stewardship
Improved Air Quality 25% - 38.5% reduction in asthma 51% reduction in respiratory illness (common cold,
Improved Air Quality
25% - 38.5% reduction in asthma
51% reduction in respiratory illness
(common cold, flu)
Decreased health care costs (paid by
parents, not schools)
Natural Lighting Improved test scores Reduced off-task behaviors “More daylight fosters higher student achievement.”
Natural Lighting
Improved test scores
Reduced off-task
behaviors
“More daylight
fosters higher
student
achievement.”
Closing the Achievement Gap Children in low income families are 30% to 50% more likely to
Closing the Achievement Gap
Children in low income families are 30%
to 50% more likely to have respiratory
problems that lead to absenteeism and
diminished learning and test scores
Greening public schools creates an
opportunity to improve the health and
educational settings for all students
Building Design - Green Views Inner-city housing projects in Chicago Presence of trees outside apartment buildings
Building Design -
Green Views
Inner-city housing projects in Chicago
Presence of trees outside apartment
buildings predicted:
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)
Building Design - Green Views Green plants and natural vistas linked with reduced stress among highly-stressed
Building Design -
Green Views
Green plants and natural vistas linked with
reduced stress among highly-stressed
children in rural areas
Results most significant where there are the
greatest number of plants, green views, and
access to natural play areas (Wells and
Evans, 2003)
Prison inmates whose cells faced a courtyard
had 24% more illness than those who had a
view of farmland
Educational Enrichment Hands-on educational opportunities teach about sustainability: On site renewable energy generation Water conservation features
Educational Enrichment
Hands-on educational opportunities teach
about sustainability:
On site renewable energy generation
Water conservation features
Green technologies
Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-Ore): “By using alternatives
to toxic chemicals, pursuing green building and
maintenance practices, changing resource
consumption habits, serving nutritious food, and
teaching students to be steward of their communities,
we’ll help put future generations at th e f orefront of
sustainable development.”
Benefits of outdoor classrooms Increased opportunity for experiential, hands- on learning Natural curiosity leads to scientific
Benefits of outdoor
classrooms
Increased opportunity for experiential, hands-
on learning
Natural curiosity leads to scientific learning
Connecting to the Earth and nature is
therapeutic
“Green playgrounds” provide opportunity for
“free play”
Environment as an Integrated Context for Learning (EIC) Closing the Achievement Gap (1998): School achievement is
Environment as an Integrated
Context for Learning (EIC)
Closing the Achievement Gap (1998): School
achievement is enhanced when youth experience
school curricula in which the environment is the
principal organizer
Improvements in:
Standardized test scores
Grade point average
Behavior
Engagement and enthusiasm
Ability and willingness to stay on task
Adaptability to various learning styles
Civility toward others
Experiential Learning Significant student gains in social studies, science, language arts and math Science testing scores
Experiential Learning
Significant student gains in social
studies, science, language arts and
math
Science testing scores improved 27%
when students involved in outdoor
science programs (American Institutes
for Research, 2005)
Green school grounds Children have increased activity, are more aware of nutrition and more civil to
Green school grounds
Children have increased activity, are more
aware of nutrition and more civil to one
another
More likely to engage in creative forms of
play and play more cooperatively (Bell and
Dyment, 2006)
“Natural spaces and materials stimulate
children’s limitless imaginations and serve as
the medium of inventiveness and creativity.” -
Robin Moore (international authority on environment
design for children’s play, learning and education)
School Ground Naturalization “A process involving students, teachers, and often administrators and community volunteers in the
School Ground Naturalization
“A process involving students, teachers, and
often administrators and community
volunteers in the collaborative improvement
of school grounds for the purpose of
addressing the healthy physical, social,
emotional, and intellectual development of
students.”
Stimulates play and learning thus improving
health and education
Free Play Beneficial to learning and development Children are smarter, more cooperative, happier and healthier Allows
Free Play
Beneficial to learning and development
Children are smarter, more cooperative,
happier and healthier
Allows children to initiate activity rather
than waiting for an adult to direct them
Induces curiosity and the use of
imagination
Free Play Enhances cognitive flexibility, problem- solving ability, self-esteem, and self- discipline Promotes executive functioning Improves
Free Play
Enhances cognitive flexibility, problem-
solving ability, self-esteem, and self-
discipline
Promotes executive functioning
Improves social skills
Promotes emotional intelli gence
Promotes emotional well-being
(depression, anxiety, aggression, sleep)
Benefits of community involvement and environmental focus Stronger sense of community Better community health Active involvement
Benefits of community
involvement and
environmental focus
Stronger sense of community
Better community health
Active involvement of parents
Healthier natural environment
Creation of a sense of place
Benefits of community involvement and environmental focus “Place-based education” - can bond a student to their
Benefits of community
involvement and
environmental focus
“Place-based education” - can bond a student
to their community and the environment,
giving them a sense of belonging and
meaning
Promotes current and future environmental
stewardship and protection of our natural
resources
Provides a sense of hope and personal
responsibility
Benefits of Nature Exposure Reduced symptoms of ADHD and other behavior problems Improved self-esteem and self-worth
Benefits of Nature Exposure
Reduced symptoms of ADHD and other
behavior problems
Improved self-esteem and self-worth
Decreased depression and anxiety
Improved cognitive abilities
Improved physical health
Stress reduction
Nature Exposure John Muir - “I am well again, I came to life in the cool
Nature Exposure
John Muir - “I am well again, I came to life in
the cool winds and crystal waters of the
mountains.”
Nancy Wells (environmental psychologist at
Cornell University): “The protective impact of
nature is strongest for the most vulnerable
children - those experiencing the hi gh est
levels of stressful life events.”
Benefits of Nature Exposure Environmental psychologists Rachel and Stephen Kaplan have linked contact with nature to
Benefits of Nature Exposure
Environmental psychologists Rachel and
Stephen Kaplan have linked contact with nature
to restored attention, the promotion of recovery
from mental fatigue, and enhanced mental
focus (Kaplan & Kaplan, 1989; Kaplan, 1995)
“Restorative” influences of the natural world
The Restorative Environment Directed attention (classroom) vs involuntary attention (fascination/wonder) Direct attention fatigue = ADHD “If
The Restorative Environment
Directed attention (classroom) vs involuntary
attention (fascination/wonder)
Direct attention fatigue = ADHD
“If you can find an environment where the
attention is automatic, you allow directed
attention to rest.”
The “fascination factor” of being immersed in
a “whole other world” (nature) is restorative.
Nature exposure Nature experience linked to better academic performance Proximity to, views of, and daily exposure
Nature exposure
Nature experience linked to better academic
performance
Proximity to, views of, and daily exposure to
natural settings is associated with children’s
ability to focus and enhances cognitive
abilities (Wells, 2000)
Children with more nature near their home
score lower on scales of behavioral conduct
disorder, anxiety and depression…and rate
themselves higher on self-worth
Nature and ADHD Symptoms of ADHD are reduced when children have regular access to the out-of-
Nature and ADHD
Symptoms of ADHD are reduced when
children have regular access to the out-of-
doors
University of Illinois study (Faber Taylor et al.,
2001; Kuo and Faber Taylor, 2004): the
greener a child’s everyday environment, the
more manageable their symptoms
Parents note fewer symptoms and increased
focus immediately following outdoor activities
(camping and fishing) vs indoor activities
(video games)
Nature and ADHD Unpublished study from the University of Illinois (Taylor, Kuo): Attention performance for unmedicated
Nature and ADHD
Unpublished study from the University of Illinois
(Taylor, Kuo):
Attention performance for unmedicated kids with
ADHD was better after a 20 minute walk in the
park vs a 20 minute walk downtown or in a
residential area.
Wilderness experience NOLS and Outward Bound - trips are therapeutic for psychological disorders, addiction, developmental and
Wilderness experience
NOLS and Outward Bound - trips are therapeutic for
psychological disorders, addiction, developmental
and cognitive disabilities
Inner city children show increased self-esteem and
well-being after spending the summer in rural camps
(Readdick and Shaller, 2005)
Adults who participate in wilderness excursions
describe “an increased sense of aliveness, well-
being, and energy,” and make healthier lifestyle
choices afterwards (Greenway, 1995)
Goals and Objectives Crises facing children today Issues affecting schools and the educational system What is
Goals and Objectives
Crises facing children today
Issues affecting schools and the educational system
What is a green school?
General benefits of green schools
Specific benefits of building design, outdoor
classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,
exposure to nature
Examples of green schools
School as a therapeutic environment
Call to action
Questions
Examples of green schools and programs Evergreen’s Learning Grounds Program (Canada) Third Creek Elementary (Statesville, NC)
Examples of green schools
and programs
Evergreen’s Learning
Grounds Program
(Canada)
Third Creek Elementary
(Statesville, NC)
Clearview Elementary
School (Pennsylvania)
Kentucky Green and
Healthy Schools Program
Evergreen’s Learning Grounds Evergreen Canada Initiative (Toyota is title sponsor) Established in 1993 to bring students,
Evergreen’s Learning
Grounds
Evergreen Canada Initiative (Toyota is title
sponsor)
Established in 1993 to bring students, teachers
and neighborhoods together to transform barren
asphalt and turf school grounds into natural
outdoor classrooms
Over 1,000 schools have enhanced the
opportunities for learning and play on their
grounds by planting trees, shrubs and
wildflowers, planning meadows and ponds, and
creating murals, sculptures, vegetable gardens
and other theme areas.
Third Creek Elementary Country’s first LEED gold K-12 school Replaced two lower performing schools Improvement from
Third Creek Elementary
Country’s first LEED gold K-12 school
Replaced two lower performing schools
Improvement from less than 60% of
students on grade level in reading and
math to 80% on grade level in both
Most gains in academic performance of
any of the 32 schools in the school
system
Clearview Elementary 2002 LEED Gold building Substantial improvements in health and test scores 19% increase in
Clearview Elementary
2002 LEED Gold building
Substantial improvements in health and
test scores
19% increase in Student Oral Reading
Fluency scores
KY Green & Healthy Schools Program (KGHS) New, voluntary effort to empower students and staff with
KY Green & Healthy Schools
Program (KGHS)
New, voluntary effort to empower students
and staff with the tools needed to take action
and make their school operate at peak
efficiency
Two-pronged approach
New or renovated schools may include a “green
and healthy” design from the start
Existing schools participate as student’s inventory
current school operations and environments and
implement action plans to improve school health
and sustainability.
KGHS 21 regional schools have chosen to participate Will do improvement projects involving Water, waste, energy
KGHS
21 regional schools have chosen to
participate
Will do improvement projects
involving
Water, waste, energy
Health and safety
Transportation
Instructional leadership
Green spaces
Indoor air quality and hazardous
chemicals
Goals and Objectives Crises facing children today Issues affecting schools and the educational system What is
Goals and Objectives
Crises facing children today
Issues affecting schools and the educational system
What is a green school?
General benefits of green schools
Specific benefits of building design, outdoor
classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,
exposure to nature
Examples of green schools
School as a therapeutic environment
Call to action
Questions
School as a Therapeutic Environment Green schools could be used a tool for treatment of many
School as a Therapeutic
Environment
Green schools could be used a tool for
treatment of many childhood disorders:
Obesity
ADHD
Mood Disorders
Social skills problems
Therapeutic Schools Children with mental health issues are seen “one-at- a-time” by pediatricians and psychiatrists Interventions
Therapeutic Schools
Children with mental health issues are seen “one-at-
a-time” by pediatricians and psychiatrists
Interventions such as therapy and medications are
falling short
Perhaps our focus is off: “We are trying to return the
most affected tail of population distribution to the
mean, rather than recognizing that the entire
population needs to move toward mental well-being
bringing along the disaffected - a shift that can only
occur by shaping the environment at large.”
(Jackson, 2008)
Physical Health The Nation’s Health (Oct 2007): “For public health workers, the effects of sedentary indoor
Physical Health
The Nation’s Health (Oct 2007):
“For public health workers, the effects of
sedentary indoor lifestyles are already
evident among children: startling rates of
obesity, the onset of one-time adult
conditions such as diabetes and a shortened
life expectancy. Thankfully, though, the
movement to reconnect kids with nature has
seen a rejuvenation in the last few years, and
experts predict that good health will be a
major motivator in bringing families back to
nature.”
Mental Health UK study (April 2007): showed benefits of “green treatment” (ecotherapy) 71% of those with
Mental Health
UK study (April 2007): showed benefits of “green
treatment” (ecotherapy)
71% of those with mental health disorders report
decrease in depression or tension after taking a
walk in the woods or gardening
Mind (UK National Association for Mental Health),
chief executive: “Mind sees ecotherapy as an
important part of the future for mental health. It’s a
credible, clinically-valid treatment option and needs to
be prescribed by GP’s, especially when for many
people access to treatments other than
antidepressants is extremely limited.”
Therapeutic Gardens Experiential learning through gardening and other nature connections can be therapeutic Mental health pioneer
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
curative effect on the mentally ill.”
Frumkin (CDC): “Perhaps we will
advise patients to take a few days in
the country, to spend time gardening.”
Psychiatry pioneer Carl Menninger -
horticulture therapy movement
Therapeutic Schools University of Illinois study on ADHD and Nature (Taylor, Kuo, Sullivan; 2001) recommendations: Encourage
Therapeutic Schools
University of Illinois study on ADHD and
Nature (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
concentration.
Plant and care for trees and vegetation…; caring
for trees means caring for people.
Free (play) Therapy Free play = therapy Cultivates a range of social and emotional capabilities, i.e.
Free (play) Therapy
Free play = therapy
Cultivates a range of social and
emotional capabilities, i.e. “emotional
intelligence”
Empathy
Flexibility
Self-awareness
Self-regulation
Free (play) Therapy Studies in adults link physical activity to: Diminished depressive symptoms Decreased anxiety acutely
Free (play) Therapy
Studies 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 development
that play and movement relieves stress and
enhances mood may help children sustain
physical activity patterns over their lifetime.” -
Burdette (2005)
Healthy Schools James Sallis (Active Living Research Program for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation): “Based on previous
Healthy Schools
James Sallis (Active Living Research Program for
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation): “Based on
previous studies, we can definitely say that the best
predictor of preschool children’s physical activity is
simply being outdoors, and that an indoor, sedentary
childhood is linked to mental health problems.”
Start with pre-schools for healthy development
School as a Therapeutic Environment Howard Frumkin, MD, MPH, DrPH, director of the CDC National Center
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
enough to act.”
Goals and Objectives Crises facing children today Issues affecting schools and the educational system What is
Goals and Objectives
Crises facing children today
Issues affecting schools and the educational system
What is a green school?
General benefits of green schools
Specific benefits of building design, outdoor
classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,
exposure to nature
Examples of green schools
School as a therapeutic environment
Call to action
Questions
What Do We Do? “The decline in children’s experience of nature will not change until a
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
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
Call to Action Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv, published 2005 April 24, 2006:
Call to Action
Last Child in the Woods, by
Richard Louv, published 2005
April 24, 2006: Louv calls for
a nationwide campaign to
“Leave No Child Inside” and a
movement to reconnect
children with nature
Leave No Child Inside vs.
No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Inside April 2006 - Children and Nature Network (C&NN) established to build and
No Child Left Inside
April 2006 - Children and Nature Network (C&NN)
established to build and support the “Leave No Child
Inside” movement
More than 40 state and regional
campai gns -
Adirondacks, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, San
Francisco Bay Area, Connecticut, Florida, Colorado,
Georgia, New York, Texas, British Columbia,
Netherlands…
Children and Nature Movement Principles Parents, guardians, educators, health care professionals and other individuals responsible for
Children and Nature
Movement Principles
Parents, guardians, educators, health care
professionals and other individuals responsible for
the welfare of children, must know about the health,
emotional and cognitive benefits of nature for children
Parents and other positive adults (teachers) must be
intentional about taking child ren i nt o nat ure
The benefits of the nature experience for children and
families must be part of the international, national and
community debates about the future of health care
and public health, education, economics, and the
health of natural ecosystems
National Forum on Children and Nature Conservation Fund Governors, mayors, cabinet secretaries, corporate CEO’s, non- overnment
National Forum on Children
and Nature
Conservation Fund
Governors, mayors, cabinet
secretaries, corporate CEO’s,
non-
overnment or anizations
Help raise awareness about the
problems facing our children
and the role that nature can play
in addressing these problems
Call to Action “Concerns about long-term consequences - affecting emotional well-being, physical health, learning abilities, environmental
Call to Action
“Concerns about long-term consequences -
affecting emotional well-being, physical
health, learning abilities, environmental
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, a U.S. Forest Servi ce i ni ti ati ve to get
more children into the woods and a national
effort to promote a ‘green hour’ in each day.”
-Washington Post, June, 2007
Legislative Action Outdoor Classroom initiative approved in New Mexico Leave No Child Inside initiative by Washington
Legislative Action
Outdoor Classroom initiative approved in New
Mexico
Leave No Child Inside initiative by Washington Gov.
Christine Gregoire allocates $1.5 million/year to
outdoor programs working with underserved children
California has established long-term funding for
outdoor education and recreation programs serving
at-risk youth
Nationally: New caucus in the US House of
Representatives to raise awareness of and promote
the benefits of green schools
Nationally: No Child Left Inside Act introduced in the
House and Senate, designed to bring environmental
education back to the classroom
Program Support Parents don’t act because of fear (“stranger danger”) and “generational amnesia” Need to support
Program Support
Parents don’t act because of fear
(“stranger danger”) and “generational
amnesia”
Need to support organizations and
institutions that help reconnect
children with nature:
Green schools
Camps
Outdoor education programs
Scouts
Nature centers
Local Government Could help launch a Leave No Child Inside campaign in our area Legislators can
Local Government
Could help launch a Leave No Child Inside
campaign in our area
Legislators can introduce bills to establish nature
education partnerships among parks and schools,
educators and farmers
Build collaborations between the Departments of
Interior, Education, Agriculture, and Health and
Human Services that focus on children and nature
Education Reform Return nature to our schools Encourage field trips, natural playgrounds, outdoor classrooms Support educators
Education Reform
Return nature to our schools
Encourage field trips, natural playgrounds,
outdoor classrooms
Support educators who are sponsoring nature
clubs, nature classroom activities, and nature
field trips
Support environmental education in the
classroom and experiential learning outdoors
Support existing and new nature-themed
schools
Education Reform Green the schoolyards and the K-12 curricula U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Schoolyard Habitat
Education Reform
Green the schoolyards and the K-12 curricula
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Schoolyard
Habitat program
Project Learning Tree and Project WILD
Establish farms and ranches as “the new
schoolyards” (New Mexico is looking into this
already)
Work for reform of the No Child Left Behind
Act, at the national, state and local levels
Health Care Reform Educate the population on how the environment can improve health Health care providers
Health Care Reform
Educate the population on how the
environment can improve health
Health care providers should establish
children’s contact with nature as a leading
public health issue
Pediatricians and other health professionals
could support a “Grow Outside!” campaign to
promote the physical and mental health
benefits of nature play.
Health Care Reform At the national level, health care associations should support nature therapy as an
Health Care Reform
At the national level, health care associations
should support nature therapy as an addition
to the traditional approaches to attention-
deficit disorders and childhood depression.
Free play in natural surroundings and nature
therapy would be most easily incorporated
into a school day at a “green school.”
Spread the Word! Offer presentations to school boards, parent-teacher associations and similar groups, making the case
Spread the Word!
Offer presentations to school boards,
parent-teacher associations and
similar groups, making the case for
the educational benefits of nature
experience for children and young
people.
Research Interest in the relationship of nature experiences to human health, cognition, creativity and well-being is
Research
Interest in the relationship of nature
experiences to human health, cognition,
creativity and well-being is growing
Need to conceptually expand areas of study
for future research
Economic studies of the regional and national
impact of the nature-deficit
Measure potential health savings
Improved school performance
Financial impact of expanded nature recreation for
children and young people
Research - Economic Establish ways to measure the economic importance of nature Include the positive economic
Research - Economic
Establish ways to measure the economic
importance of nature
Include the positive
economic impact on the
public’s mental and physical health, education,
and jobs
Establish baseline measurements of the
nature deficit, so that progress can be
measured and reported
Include annual progress measurements in
new or existing reports on children’s health
and educational status
Research *While most research has been done on adults, a growing body of evidence suggests the
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*
Take Home Message Our ultimate goal is deep cultural change, connecting children to nature, so that
Take Home Message
Our ultimate goal is deep cultural
change, connecting children to
nature, so that they can be
healthier, happier and smarter.
Case Study The back page of the October issue of San Francisco magazine displays a vivid
Case Study
The 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
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, 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 son to beaches, forests, dunes and
rivers to let nature do its work.
Case Study The photograph was taken in 1907. The boy was Ansel Adams.
Case Study
The photograph was taken in 1907.
The boy was Ansel Adams.
Goals and Objectives Crises facing children today Issues affecting schools and the educational system What is
Goals and Objectives
Crises facing children today
Issues affecting schools and the educational system
What is a green school?
General benefits of green schools
Specific benefits of building design, outdoor
classrooms, green playgrounds, environmental study,
exposure to nature
Examples of green schools
School as a therapeutic environment
Call to action
Questions
Questions
Questions
References 1) Bell, A.C. and Dyment, J.E. “Grounds for Action: Promoting Physical Activity through School Ground
References
1)
Bell, A.C. and Dyment, J.E. “Grounds for Action: Promoting Physical
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
Environment-Based Education on Student Achievement.” SEER:
Poway, CA, 2005. Available at www.seer.org
4)
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.org
5)
“Effects of Outdoor Education Programs for Children in California.”
American Institutes for Research: Palo Alto, CA: 2005. Available on
the Sierra Club web site.
References 6) Frumkin, H, MD and Louv, R. “Conserving Land; Preserving Human Health.” Land Trust Alliance
References
6)
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, MPH and 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.com
9)
Kellert, Stephen R. “Nature and Childhood Development.” In Building
for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature
Connection. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2005.
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.
References 11) Lieberman, G.A. and Hoody, L.L. “Closing the Achievement Gap: Using the Environment as an
References
11) Lieberman, G.A. and Hoody, L.L. “Closing the Achievement Gap:
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.org
12) Louv, Richard. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from
Nature-Deficit Disorder. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. 2005.
13)
14)
“Nature Nurtures: Investigating the Potential of School Grounds.”
2000 Evergreen. www.evergreen.ca
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,
2006.
References 15) Taylor, A.F., Kuo, F., and Sullivan, W.C. (2001). Coping with ADD: The Surprising Connection
References
15)
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.edu
16)
Taylor, A.F., Kuo, F., and Sullivan, W.C. (2001). “Views of Nature and
Self-Discipline: Evidence from Inner City Children.” In The Journal of
Environmental Psychology, 21.
17)
18)
Wallis, C. and Steptoe, S. “How to Fix No Child Left Behind,”
Education Special Report. Time Magazine; 169 (23), 34-41.
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.
Additional Resources Children and Nature Network www.cnaturenet.org The Sheltowee School www.sheltoweeschool.org KY Green and Healthy Schools
Additional Resources
Children and Nature Network
www.cnaturenet.org
The Sheltowee School
www.sheltoweeschool.org
KY Green and Healthy Schools Initiative
www.greenschools.ky.gov
Green Schools
www.buildgreenschools.org
Life Adventure Center
www.lifeadventurecenter.org
For more information Contact Tiffany Sauls, MD at tsaulsmd@gmail.com or call 859-489-7106
For more information
Contact Tiffany Sauls, MD
at tsaulsmd@gmail.com
or call 859-489-7106