Friday, January 28, 2022


The Indiana House passes a controversial bill barring schools from teaching about Critical Race Theory; and President Biden pledges to place a Black woman on the Supreme Court for the first time.


Justice Stephen Breyer formally announces his retirement; the Dept. of Education will help students who fell behind during the pandemic; and AZ lawmakers consider a bill granting them control over elections.


Free COVID tests by mail but some rural Americans need to go the extra mile; farmer storytellers join national campaign to battle corporate consolidation; specialty nurses want more authority; and rare bat gets credit for the mythic margarita.

Children's Advocates Urge Lawmakers to Expand Access to Outdoor Learning


Tuesday, September 21, 2021   

DENVER -- As Congress considers making significant investments in the nation's child-care system, children's advocates say now is the time to make nature-based, high-quality outdoor learning available for all children in Colorado, regardless of their ZIP code.

Sarah Konradi, director of the Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) program for the National Wildlife Federation, said kids need regular access to spaces where they can play, run and climb.

"We also want them to be able to explore, to imagine, to pretend, to create," Konradi outlined. "And so that may look like a little digging area in the shade of a tree, where they can explore worms and bugs."

ECHO has published new recommendations, calling for broadening investments in playgrounds to include outdoor extensions of the classroom; areas where kids create rules for new games, learn how to work together to build pirate ships, and other activities that help boost cognitive learning and social skills in natural settings.

Konradi pointed out child-care providers also see benefits from outdoor learning environments. Instead of monitoring recess on a traditional playground, educators can engage with kids as they explore winding pathways, plant pollinator gardens and create "mud kitchens."

Konradi noted building outdoor learning spaces does not necessarily require a lot of money or effort.

"Changes that we are advocating for can be extremely cost-effective; they can be done very incrementally," Konradi explained. "This doesn't have to be an extreme playground makeover to be successful."

When children get to spend a part of their day in natural settings, Konradi added, there is also an opportunity to pause, and take a deep breath.

"And spaces where children can just observe, contemplate," Konradi stated. "And with nature around us, we know that as adults going out into those kinds of environments is very restorative, and it can be for children as well."

Disclosure: National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species and Wildlife, Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, Salmon Recovery, and Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Solar energy would have been used to replace carbon-based power sources under Arizona's proposed clean-energy plan. (andreiorlov/Adobe Stock)


Frustrated environmental and clean-energy advocates say after four long years of debate and compromise, regulators sent Arizona back to the starting …

Social Issues

When North Dakotans head out to cast their ballots later this year, there is a chance some will do so in a voting center and not a designated …

Social Issues

South Dakota continues to grapple with its low ranking when it comes to paying schoolteachers, but the issue is getting focus in 2022, including a …

Older Washingtonians take more prescription drugs on average and so are disproportionately affected by rising drug costs. (kmiragaya/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Washington state lawmakers are considering a measure to limit the growing cost of prescription drugs. Senate Bill 5532 would establish a …


The Maryland Air National Guard is considering a proposal to establish airspace where military planes would fly as low as 100 feet over the Pennsylvan…

The new grants are via the 2019 Rebuild Illinois capital program, which also calls for $25 billion to repair roads and bridges. (Adobe Stock)


The state of Illinois is allocating nearly a quarter-billion dollars to support new downstate transit and ports projects. Roughly half will go …

Health and Wellness

Advocates and faith groups are calling for more investments in harm reduction across the state, as new provisional data shows overdose deaths have …

Social Issues

More than 300 Kentucky farmers participated in the state's Farms to Food Banks program last year, and at a recent virtual rally, state officials said …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021