It's about time that my profession got on board with the whole "nature deficit disorder" issue. If anyone can affect change it should be Landscape Architects.
So, I am proud to report that the good people working at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates consulted experts in cognitive development before they went ahead with the design of a new park in Union Square, New York.
Hallelujah.............. may we all follow their lead.
At the U.S. Conference of Mayors last week Michelle Obama spoke about childhood obesity and how it will impact the future of America if is nothing is done about it. She asked the Mayors to "put in place commonsense, innovative solutions that empower families and communities to make healthy decisions for their kids." Here's the full article.
Spain wants to host a green battle, similar to their annual tomato fight, but where people throw balls of green mud containing seeds at each other. In under 2 to 3 weeks the area will be transformed into a garden, using mediterranaean/low water plants.
I reckon there are a few schools in Los Angeles that could benefit from a Batalla Verde and the kids would have a great time.......
I do struggle with my choices in life, as I think we all do. Private school or public? Car or bus? Red or white wine?
So, when I read this article about Steve Barr and watched the video of the speech he made, I was struck again by how I don't practice what I preach. I do believe that all children are entitled to a good education and that we as a society are responsible for providing that, but when the local education system is severely lacking and I can offer my children more.... what am I to do?
Steve Barr founded Green Dot, a great organisation charged with transforming public education in Los Angeles and beyond. Maybe, as he says, we should all demand more from our local schools and governments.
Well, not really but I love the Swedish approach to schooling. Check out on the website Teachers TV the series called "How do they do it in..?", videos about other countries' education systems and this posting is about how they do it in Sweden, in this case nursery schools.
Please sign this letter. The RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) are asking people to " show politician's that we want the children of the future to grow up in a healthy world, full of natural beauty."
My Grandad was a member of the society for years, if my memory serves me right. I do remember it being a little squazzy when I was a kid, but then most kids probably think bird watching is for dorks. But, having checked out their website, I take it all back....... Either they seem with it or I'm getting old.
(The photo is a nod to all suffering with the snow in the UK). I miss those Robins......
I know, I can't keep away......... Sir Ken Robinson. The man is a visionary. Here's a Q & A on Ted he did last year. Some great questions and answers.
I particularly liked this about the role of IT in schools:
"But I also think that in any situation education should not only be IT-based. Clearly not. There are things that you can only really learn by being in the room with people. There are things you can only really learn by getting up and doing them. Not simulating them, but by being outdoors and doing it. By being in your body. By exercising your feelings and recognizing you are not just intellectual and chemalogical* animals. We are sentient, feeling beings who need social contact. And one of the great losses, I think, out of public education just now is the loss of arts programs, loss of sports programs and the loss of programs that get kids out of the room and on their feet. "
or changing your lifestyle to a more active outdoorsy one, check this website out first. Walk Score will help you find a walkable place to live. Great idea on so many levels. Only for US residents I'm afraid.
I tried putting in my current address and it rated 58 out of 100, somewhat walkable..... Hmmm.
Here's an article from the UK Times newspaper about education in England called "Why British children are pushed too hard", from one mother's point of view. Not having lived there for 14 years, it's hard to see how much the education system has changed.
But I do think that pushing children to read too early, to the detriment of everything else, is not good and this article here shows that children who read at 5 have no advantage over later readers by the time they reach 11. So, why miss out on all the fun stuff?