Thursday, 14 November 2013

Ontario Creates "Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights"

Give a guess at how many hours children (in school today) spend outdoors playing, doing physical activity, etc?

Three. Including weekends.

The same children spent approximately 7 hours in front of screens.

Actually, sadly enough, children are spending more time indoors than at any other time in human history. Our children's connection to nature has been impaired and resulted in a "nature-deficit" and its a fact. Thankfully there is something we can do about it, and many people have already taken this problem into their own hands. These people are enthusiastic teachers and parents who take their kids outdoors to explore and learn from the nature all around us.

Then came the first of its kind in Canada: The Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter:

Summarized in short, the Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter is a long-term initiative that:

1. Raises awareness of the important benefits for children of connecting to nature on a regular basis;

2. Invites all interested people and organizations to take part in building opportunities for children to connect with nature;

3. Strongly advocates for direct personal experiences in nature to foster lifelong health and happiness, and the development of a strong conservation ethic.

It simply involves writing down all the things that have connected children to nature for as long as we can remember and promising our children to give them similar opportunities today. Here are a list of 12 examples:
  • Follow a trail
  • Explore a park
  • Harvest something to eat
  • Swim in a lake
  • Paddle a canoe
  • Play in the snow
  • Build an outdoor fort
  • Visit a farm
  • Camp under the stars
  • Go fishing
  • Observe plants and wildlife
  • Create an outdoor adventure
Read the Government of Ontario's official announcement HERE
You can also see the full Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter here on their official website.

To learn more about the The Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter and how you can use it in your classroom or with your children, click HERE to read the full article.

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