Forest schools have long flourished in Scandinavia, Germany and Britain. They are places where children learn through free play, movement and hands-on experience in nature. Now, Canada is exploring the benefits of outdoor learning. Sangster Elementary in Colwood, B.C., launched its joyous Nature Kindergarten last fall, and now outdoor preschools, kindergartens and primary programs are popping up throughout that province, as well as in Ontario and New Brunswick. Why? Because there’s mounting evidence that nature enhances children’s health, learning and confidence while cutting down on behavioural issues. In Forest Kids: Why the Modern Classroom is Moving Outside, Star journalist Andrea Gordon conveys outdoor learners’ engagement and sense of wonder, and probes the fascinating science of nature’s effects on the brain and body of people young and old. But she also explores whether it's just a passing novelty or has real staying power.
Andrea Gordon has worked as a journalist in Toronto and Ottawa and written for newspapers and magazines about topics ranging from business and politics to parenting and health. She has spent the last nine years covering family issues for the Star. Her work on The Autism Project, which shone a light on the shortage of services for people living with autism from birth to death, was nominated for a 2012 National Newspaper Award and a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. She was also nominated for a 2004 National Newspaper Award for her series, Childhood Lost.
Gordon lives in Toronto with her husband, fellow Toronto Star journalist Jim Coyle, and their four sons.
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