Here's a follow-up to our last blog post about Environmental Education Week. Mark it down on your calendars. May 19th is Kids to Park Day! This is a little different than swinging on the swings and sliding down the slides at your local playground. The American Academy of Pediatrics, Department of Interior's Youth in the Great Outdoors, National Education Association, and National Geographic Kids, among other partners, have declared May 19th as a day to encourage kids to get out and play in our national parks. It’s a chance to help them explore and discover our natural playgrounds!
We’ve recently been acknowledging weekly national education topics, like national library week and brain awareness week. We're a little late, but last week’s topic can’t go unmentioned, as it happened to be National Environmental Education week (EE week), and the focus for this year is “Greening STEM: The Environment as Inspiration for 21st Century Learning.”
As an educational publisher, we love blogging about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) claims that, “student achievement in STEM is key to fostering a new wave of innovators who can creatively address complex 21st century challenges.” The NEEF provides a list of topics to help students get involved in outdoor activities, and to better understand their relationship to nature. One of the resources provided is a Nature Deficit Disorder survey, and it encourages children to think about how they interact with nature. It also cites a link to an article from the New York Times called “Growing up Denatured”, which claims that technology and organized activities have sequestered our children from the natural world. The article is from 2005, which means it’s even more relevant to today’s world.
This week is National Library Week. Perhaps it’s not as true today, but once upon a time, as a child, possessing your own library card was a mark of maturity. When my mother told me we would be going down to the public library to sign me up for my very own library card, I sat at the kitchen table with a scrap piece of paper and a sharp pencil and I practiced my signature for hours. That mint green laminated card with my name on the front and signature on the back was my first badge of independence. I could check out my own books. And I, not my parents, could lose my privileges as a card owner if I didn’t bring them back.