MINNEAPOLIS (April 7, 2016)–Rasmussen College, a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation, is partnering with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) to celebrate Week of the Young Child April 10-16. The purpose of the week – now in its 45th year – is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs. This year, Rasmussen College is helping to bring awareness to the benefits of outdoor education in young children. Its theme, Exploring the World Together through Nature, will be celebrated across the College’s 23 campuses.
“We know quality early education, which includes connecting children with nature, gives them a strong start in life and results in stronger communities,” said Mary Muhs, Early Childhood Education (ECE) department chair at Rasmussen College. “With the rise of technology, children today are spending more time watching videos and playing games and less time connecting with their natural environment. Science and research shows getting our youngest learners outside interacting with nature on a regular basis makes them healthier—from cognitive development to improved social and physical health.”
Benefits of Outdoor Education
The benefits of outdoor education on children’s physical and emotional health is well-documented by science and supported by research – catalyzing a recent drive to get kids outside. According to the Natural Learning Initiative, a research and professional development organization that helps communities create stimulating places for play, learning and environmental education, outdoor interaction positively impacts children in several ways, including:
- Increases physical activity: Children who experience diverse natural settings are more physically active, more aware of nutrition and more creative.
- Improves academic performance: Studies show schools that use outdoor classrooms and other forms of nature-based education support significant student gains in social studies, science, language arts and math.
- Improves social relations: Free and unstructured play in the outdoors result in children getting along better with others.
To help educate the community about the benefits of outdoor education and to connect children with nature, Rasmussen College is hosting a series of events and activities across its 23 Midwest and Florida campuses. Activities include nature walks, seed planting and book readings with the College’s School of Education faculty and students. This year’s featured book is “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle. The books presents the story of the life cycle of a flower, from a tiny seed to maturity. To learn more about an event near you, please contact your local campus.
“We know young children are the future of our communities, and we’re excited to celebrate with them and their families,” said Muhs. “We also hope by bringing attention to the benefits of outdoor education, more children will have access to their natural environment – helping them get a strong start in life.”
For more information about the Rasmussen College School of Education, visit http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/education/.
ABOUT RASMUSSEN COLLEGE:
Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation that is dedicated to changing lives through career-focused educational programs and public service. Rasmussen College offers certificate and diploma programs through associate’s and bachelor’s degrees online and across its 23 Midwest and Florida campuses in a supportive, student-centered and career-focused environment. Since 1900, Rasmussen College has been dedicated to being a primary contributor to the growth and development of the communities it serves. As a Public Benefit Corporation, Rasmussen College is committed to helping change lives through education and making a positive impact on society through public service and a variety of community-based initiatives. For more information about Rasmussen College, please visit www.Rasmussen.edu.
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