Kids love to play in the dirt, and they are learning while they play! On March 7, child care directors and their staff can “dig in” to learning about starting edible gardens and some fun and educational ideas about cooking activities with the garden harvest!
The Natural Learning Initiative is featured in this NC State News article focused on The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation's 2015 Equipment Grant recipients. This year the grants focus on naturalizing the outdoor learning environment to enhance physical activity, nutrition, and learning.
The Natural Learning Initiative (NLI), College of Design, NC State University, partnered with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation to provide almost $100,000 in Healthy Living Equipment Grants to 19 institutions (14 local Partnership for Children / Smart Start recipients and five community colleges).
Equipment grants will be used to increase physical activity of young children by improving childcare outdoor play and learning areas — for example, adding wheeled toy pathways, stepping stones, gardening opportunities, fruit trees, gathering areas, and shade structures. Projects in community colleges will serve also as demonstration sites for training future teachers on outdoor learning.
The Raleigh News and Observer reports on the NC Insitute of Medicine Preventing Obesity Task Force Summit, held March 19 in Raleigh, NC. Robin Moore represented NLI and the POD approach on the task force and A Safe Place, the POD-Wake site, is featured in this story.
Childcare Outdoor Renovation as a Built Environment Health Promotion Strategy: Evaluating the Preventing Obesity by Design Intervention.
Published in the American Journal of Health Promotion (Vol. 28, No. 3) this article shows that site layout attributes are associated with higher levels of physical activity in the childcare setting, while teacher interaction is associated with a decreased level of physical activity in children. The full article is available here.
Elevated Ground: A 300 Year Vision for a 220-Year-Old Square is the recipient of the a Professional Honor Award in the cateogry of Analysis and Planning from The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). This master plan for renovating Raleigh's Moore Square brought together a team of engineers, architects, and landscape architects, headed up by the Christopher Counts Studio, Brooklyn, NY. The Natural Learning Initiative served as Children's Play Consultant for the project.
Over the last year and a half The NLI Preventing Obesity by Design in Wake County project has helped four demonstration sites implement best practice designs for their Outdoor Learning Environments. Four additional sites will begin to implement their OLEs in the spring of 2014, while the NLI team continues to reach out to childcare centers throughout Wake County with training opportunities. Click here for print and television media features.