Natural Childhood Around the World: Canada

When Rachel Carson wrote her seminal book Silent Spring in 1962, she awoke a generation to the dangers of synthetic pesticides and the alarming possibility of a spring with no birds singing. Now, it seems the time has come to raise the alarm for a different silent spring that perhaps Carson didn’t anticipate––one where few children are outside making noise and enjoying play and exploration outdoors.

The trend toward an “indoor childhood” is alarming. In Canada, the average screen time for children is 44 hours per week and only 12 percent of Canadian children are getting their recommended level of daily activity. This is compounded by extensive media coverage of childhood abductions that feeds growing fears of “stranger danger,” creating a generation of parents that are filled with anxiety whenever their child is out of sight. Reversing this trend is a significant challenge.

So what to do? Thankfully, recess has yet to be cancelled, so at Evergreen, a Canadian environmental charity, our focus is on taking advantage of the schoolyard as a place still considered relatively safe and with significant influence on the life of a child. For almost 20 years we have been working with schools across Canada to create play and learning environments that incorporate the key building blocks of trees and shrubs, topography and seating areas–– providing support through the design, planning, fundraising and implementation process.

Separate from our work with individual schools, we’ve also been working with a number of school authorities  to create comprehensive strategies to support all of their schools. This includes clearer approvals processes, design guidelines and standards, annual teacher training programs and centralized support for procurement of key materials and supplies.

Just 18 months ago, our charity opened a new community environmental centre in the heart of Toronto. Here we host day visits by schools, two summer camp programs and free weekend programming  where the focus is on exploring nature right in the heart of the city. The hopeful and exciting news is that our programs have become sellout successes––meaning that there is a growing appetite amongst parents and teachers to increase their children’s time outdoors, and we must seize these opportunities with appropriate services and programs.

My optimism is further encouraged by international exchange and cooperation, which has been invaluable to our organization. We are proud to be a part of the nascent International School Grounds Alliance, which includes a wonderfully talented and passionate group of organizations and individuals from countries around the world. I encourage readers to share whatever they are doing to reconnect children and nature with others, as I know our organization has harvested a great crop of ideas small and large from other places and adapted them to benefit children in many Canadian communities.

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder,” wrote Rachel Carson, “he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”

Evergreen is a national charity that makes cities more livable. To learn more about Evergreen and how to bring nature into your home, classroom and school ground, visit us at

By Cam Collyer, Program Director, Evergreen

4 thoughts on “Natural Childhood Around the World: Canada

  1. Strong ankle and knee ligaments reduce injury-risk and allow
    greater mobility and better ball control. Attempting to converse with
    them, to tell them how badly our team was going to thrash
    theirs, a waste of time and we sat back to enjoy with
    hilarity their antics. You need a reason as to why you wish to
    lose the weight. Their summer camp is available from May 31st all the
    way until August the 20th. Optimally, both strategies will vacation put on using the activity
    a sign a cheap months camp. Interval training involves brief intervals of high intensity ‘cardio’ exercise with periods of lower intensity exercise between them.
    Summer break can be a fun time period for children. Everytime
    we moved it was always to a better apartment. WHEN: ”””””” Thursday, March 12 –
    Friday, March 17. This film was centered around the preparation and serving of French food.

  2. This latest incident, focused in the Southern areas
    of Utah including Cedar City and areas thirty miles south is considered noteworthy by ornithologists
    because it was so widespread in that area and not centralized like other instances have been. Energy and grocery prices are going up and folks are
    distressed about hyperinflation. No matter what, Real Estate Investment in Kenya is the best business you should put into account.

    The following will outline some great places to get leads and give you some tips to
    help you along the way. Duncan Wierman is a full time investor in Greenville, SC.
    Besides metro link the site is well connected to all parts of Delhi, Noida and Faridabad
    through road. Sources available online provide
    information such as addresses, property taxes,
    assessed values, names of owners, current photos, property descriptions, and much, much more.

    For more details on how this type of automated internet marketing system works for real estate investors
    his free report can be found at. In real estate issuer means any human being who issues or proposes to issue the security a person means
    any individual, a corporation, a partnership, an association, joint stock Company where the interest of the beneficiary is evidenced
    by the real estate investment securities, unincorporated organization, government, and any of
    the subdivision of the government. By keeping
    a enough degree of the substance all the time, a person facilitates their bodies
    to make use of all what has been taken in a meal.

  3. Howdy! Would you mind if I share youur blog with my twitter group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content.
    Please let me know. Thank you

  4. Okay, so you have a decent starting portfolio of ‘glamour photography’ shots you’ve
    taken and assembled to show the possibilities of your range and depth of photographic artistry.
    So, all of them will buy a pair of beautiful chinese embroidered shoes without any hesitant.
    Almost every day we are exposed to the damaging effects of the ultraviolet rays that are sometimes high in radiation.

Comments are closed.