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‘It’s given the children a love of wildlife’: the schools letting nature in

The Guardian – Emma Sheppard

“The number of schools using gardens and the natural world to teach students continues to increase. The campaign for school gardening, a programme run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), now has 20,000 school members, with 81% growing plants specifically to attract wildlife and pollinators. “Biodiversity underpins everything,” says campaign manager Alana Cama.” (more)

What Is a Modern Learning Environment?

ED Tech Magazine – Staff Writer

“Education has shifted dramatically in recent decades — from an emphasis on fact memorization through “drill and kill” and “sage on the stage” teaching styles to a focus on higher-order thinking and future-ready skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. Along the way, schools have raced to incorporate technology, first through stand-alone computer labs, and then through one-to-one device initiatives and massive networking upgrades. But in many cases, the K–12 classroom itself has remained stubbornly static, with students sitting in rows of desks and a teacher delivering instruction at a whiteboard or projector screen at the front of the room.” (more)

‘It captures their imagination’: teaching sustainability through the arts

The Guardian – Deborah Cleland-Harris

“At Fleet primary school in north London, children between the ages of three and 11 are learning songs about climate change and the environment. Tunes featuring fossil fuels, composting, growing vegetables and the impact of transport have all become popular in class, despite the somewhat serious messages at their heart.” (more)

Let your child learn about manipulation

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Manipulation is rampant in the digital age. It is easy for young people to be sucked into toxic personal relationships, political and social causes that are fronts for individuals and/or corporations that are attempting to gain power and money, and job situations where bosses or coworkers take advantage of them.

Most parents want to shelter their kids from these situations. Sheltering kids, however, may not be the best strategy. Instead it is better to empower kids, so they are not victims.

First, parents need to make sure their kids are confident, since it is harder for self-confident kids to be manipulated. Self-confidence is earned, not given, so is important to encourage children to explore many things and urge them to continue the activities that they enjoy and do well. In addition, it is essential that they learn the value of hard work. Also, it is imperative that the activities they selected are building self-confidence. Sometimes kids need to change activities as they grow to maintain healthy self-confidence.

The next step is to teach children how to identify a manipulative person, how to keep an emotional distance from such a person, and how to avoid personalization and self-blame. Then children need to learn how to turn the tables by asking probing questions and using time as a delay.

Finally parents need to allow controlled exposure. As counterintuitive as it sounds, kids need exposure to manipulators in safe environments, so they know when someone is trying to control them. In addition, kids need practice disarming a manipulator.

This means parents need to create learning opportunities. For example, a parent could consciously avoid speaking to school officials when a child’s classmate is “mean” on the playground, and instead help their child figure out how to handle situation him/herself. This playground practice should help prepare the child with more insidious manipulation that occurs when he/she is older.

As the child becomes more skilled at detecting and diverting manipulation, parents can gradually provide more exposure. By the time kids reach the teenage years, parents should expect them to discuss absences, homework, performance, and goals with coaches and teachers. In these conversations where will be many opportunities for the child to experience subtle and overt manipulation and to learn ways to remain in control.

Obviously there will be times parents have to step in, especially as when kids beginning interacting with adults, but parents should not be so protective that kids do not have an opportunity to learn.

The best books about green living for children of all ages

The Guardian – Zofia Niemtus

“When the future of the planet is tied into decisions the younger generation make today, it’s crucial to have classroom conversations about the environment. But how do we talk about such complex issues, bound up with science and politics, in an engaging way? Books with a green theme can provide a useful starting point in these discussions. Here are some of our favourite options, for children of all ages.”(more)

The many reasons to get outside

The Star – Mark Cullen

“Mindfulness. Prayerfulness. Meditation. All good ideas. I have a better one: a walk in the park. Remember when your mom shoved you out the door and said, “Go play”? There is now growing evidence she was doing us a great favour. According to Michael Grothaus, an American journalist who lives in London, England, there is much to be gained by taking a daily one-hour walk in the park. After reading about the benefits, and exposure to nature generally, he started to walk in the green parks near his central London home every day and has experienced the physical and mental benefits, including:.”(more)