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The Long Island Nature Collaborative for Kids (LINCK), a national demonstration site of Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, is a network of environmentalists, nature educators, early childhood educators, and health professionals working together to bring children outdoors.
The goals of LINCK are to:
- reconnect children with nature
- enhance children’s education
- promote healthy children and families
- bring generations together
- create better stewards of the environment
- promote community building and pride, particularly in underserved communities
- preserve open space
"Outdoor classrooms" are outdoor play spaces that use only natural substances that stimulate learning and the use of all five senses. They were created by the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation and the Arbor Day Foundation. LINCK seeks to create outdoor classrooms in public spaces (parks, preserves and beaches); in educational settings (schools and early childhood programs); in youth programs, camps and farms; and in neighborhoods and backyards. Long Island has been recognized internationally for its innovativeness and collaborations – in Malaysia and Ireland -- and across the country. There are many Outdoor Classrooms on Long Island, several of which are open to the public. Click here to see the outdoor classrooms in your area.
- Create Outdoor Classrooms. LINCK provides support for the design and construction of outdoor classrooms to schools, parks, childcare programs, camps, youth programs, neighborhoods and backyards. Click here to find out more about what LINCK can do to help you build an outdoor classroom at your site.
- Provide Training. LINCK provides training opportunities to educators, parents, environmentalists, health professionals, landscape architects, gardeners, policy makers, and other planners. Training modules focus on the importance of outdoor learning, the benefits of outdoor classrooms and curriculum use in outdoor classrooms and natural learning environments.
- Promote the Importance of Outdoor Learning. LINCK has developed a list of resources and other materials that explain why outdoor learning is essential and what children are learning from outdoor experiences.
- Park Inventory. LINCK has created a comprehensive resource guide to over 740 parks, preserves and green spaces all over Long Island to help families, caregivers and educators find local places to reconnect children with nature.
For more information about LINCK, please contact EYI at 516-304-5480 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LINCK is generously supported by the Pritchard Charitable Trust, The Rauch Foundation and the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation.
***Here's an interesting article about one outdoor classroom (click here): This article first appeared in Healthy Kids, Healthy Museums, edited by Mary Maher, Arlington, VA: Association of Children’s Museums, 2010. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. Visit www.ChildrensMuseums.org to learn more. To download a free PDF version of the book, go to www.childrensmuseums.org/programs/healthykidshealthymuseumsregistry.htm.