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E-News Register



September 28, 2017

Down to Earth - Earth Day Canada - September, 2017

                            Down to Earth September 2017


Get Outside - on Earth Day and every day.

How can we be motivated or skilled to protect the Earth if Canadians spend less than 1 hour outside per day? Earth Day Canada is helping people spend quality time outdoors every day to support health, happiness and the planet.
There is a play movement
happening in Canada
In September, Earth Day Canada President Deb Doncaster spoke at the International Play Association conference in Calgary about the North American adventure play movement. And our Director of Play Programs, Brenda Simon, spoke about the relationship between outdoor play environments at schools and children’s happiness and wellbeing.

Did you know that Calgary signed Canada’s first municipal Play Charter?
Read the Charter
Reclaiming playtime at schools (OPAL)
Reclaiming playtime
at schools (OPAL)
Our Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) program for schools is thriving. After a successful completion of its pilot program in six schools in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), it is expanding to 17 schools in the 2017-18 school year, including one from the York Region District School Board, and aims to reach 42 schools by 2020.
Ontario to invest $49-million in student well-being

The Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, has announced that the province will invest
$49-million over the next three years into a new curriculum strategy that supports the mental and physical health of students across the province.
Read the News Release
This refresh is perfect timing for programs like OPAL that support student well-being by improving mental and physical health at school through outdoor, child-directed play.

A recent study found introducing simple, everyday objects (natural and upcycled loose parts) during recess and lunchtime encourage children to be more active and creative than expensive play equipment.

See how OPAL makes teachers happy and how it leads to more productive time back in the classroom.
Watch Video
Girl doing a cartwheel
Adult perceptions of risk
are affecting play
“School grounds should not be as safe as possible but as safe as necessary.”

Recently a school in Northern Ontario proposed banning children from doing cartwheels due to concerns parents could take legal action if children are injured.

Play experts worldwide say that risk-taking opportunities are an essential component of a well-functioning school ground, and adults and institutions have a responsibility to use common sense in providing and allowing risk-taking activities for children.
In September, 16 countries signed the International School Grounds Alliance declaration on risk in play and learning.
Endorse the Declaration
It’s all about adventure
EarthPLAY is working toward a new model of outdoor play in parks and schools.
Current Model
  • Fixed play structures (plastic, factory-standard equipment)
  • More adults than kids (hovering and leading play)
  • Contrived nature landscaping on periphery
New Model
  • Loose parts (natural and up-cycled materials) and tools so children create their own play structures
  • No adults allowed (trained playworkers support play with risk/benefit assessment)
  • Natural elements (trees, etc.) integrated for climbing, playing, etc.
Our POP-UP Adventure Playgrounds offer a snapshot of this new model and we are starting to see change! EarthPLAY is training city recreation staff and daycare staff in Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Newmarket and York Region. This year we booked 31 POP-UPs, reaching more than 3,000 children.
Come out to our last POP-UP of the year!
Play in the Street
Play in the street
We’re expanding opportunities for regular street closures for outdoor, self-directed play in neighbourhoods across Canada, through StreetPLAY.

StreetPLAY is operating on seven streets in Wards 19 and 20 in Toronto.
The Urban Planning Department at Ryerson University is entering the last phase of an academic study on the effectiveness of the StreetPLAY program in Toronto. It will evaluate:
  1. the quality of play for the children and youth who participate;
  2. the extent to which the program increases a sense of community; |
  3. elements that would strengthen the program, and,
  4. the response of local commuters to the play hours
If you are interested in after-school play, view our schedule and map.
Learn More
Hannah Alper
Small Acts, Big Change
You might remember her from Earth Day Canada's Hometown Heroes ceremony this year: Hannah Alper is an inspiring young eco-warrior and youth activist who shares lessons she's learned about making a difference in her new book. A must read for any budding change-maker!

Momentus- Small acts, big change
Read More
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