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The New Learning Curve
Let's face it, public schools weren't created with the prettiest designs, and spending 35 hours a week in an institutional setting doesn't exactly make for a good learning environment. Recess time has been shortened, gym classes are completely cut out sometimes and extracurricular budgets get sliced. But how does all of this affect students' relationships with nature and environmental problems?
In his new book, Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv refers to what is happening to kids as instances of "nature deficit disorder." Predictably, this is not positive news for kids and parents. On the upside, however, the United States Green Building Council has seen an increase in schools registering for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program, which aims to make "green" school buildings and help with renovations.
One school in Los Angeles has implemented an outdoor garden program equipped with a stream, butterfly zone and an amphitheater, and uses sustainable materials for its learning areas. The best part? All of it was a "green" collaboration between teachers, parents and students. With more individuals involved, there's a better chance that caring about these environmental issues will extend beyond the classroom.
Tell us if you know of any schools who are taking the initiative to be more environmentally friendly. Do you think this is important, or should schools be focusing on other issues? [New York Times]