I’m officially back to work at the Carp Ridge Learning Centre, although I’ll be working a lot from home until January. I’m busy right now preparing for a conference at the Museum of Nature called “Healthy Children, Healthy Spaces” (click here for their website) which focuses on children’s connection to nature, assessing risk within our culture[s], health and nature indicators for health, as well as designing natural landscapes for children.

If you are interested in attending [Nov. 14-16] or know of someone who would be, you can go to the HCHS website and register.  It’s interdisciplinary so anyone within health, education, design, policy, early childhood, parents, etc, would be welcome.

Carp Ridge Learning Centre is a major sponsor (given my in-kind work on the conference) and Freya/Cindy are doing a large portion of the conference food! Yeah for Carp Ridge!

Looking forward to seeing each of you.

Kindest, Marlene
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From the HCHS website:

Every child’s healthy development, well being and quality of life are intricately determined by the natural spaces around them.

Our children depend on the built and natural environments that surround them to play, explore, move and learn. The HCHS Conference will address children’s health, concepts of risk and the quality of spaces that we create around them.

As a strategic and action based forum, the Conference will explore the roles that outdoor spaces, risk, perceptions of risk and liability, access to safe, inspiring outdoor play, learning and living have on the health of our children and communities. Outcomes will address existing barriers and increase access to healthy spaces that foster opportunities for every child to learn, live and play outside.

GOALS

1. Gather a multi-sector group of experts, young people and champions from the fields of: health, risk, planning, design, education, recreation, physical activity, community development, social services and all levels of government.
2. Share knowledge and identify opportunities for collaboration between sectors and not just within sectors.
3. Highlight the importance of outdoor active play, the role that design and planning play in children’s health, the barriers of risk and liability and the role government plays in fostering supportive environments.
4. Translate the growing body of research that supports the link between children’s health and their connection to the natural world into action.
5. Take public and political steps forward to build on the momentum of existing initiatives.

OBJECTIVES

1. Develop strategies to respond to the perceptions, realities, fears and issues that limit outdoor play, learning and moving more in accessible, aesthetic and safe natural environments.
2. Initiate the development of municipal guidelines and standards that open doors for every child to have safe, nearby natural spaces to play, walk, bike and move more in their communities.
3. Identify champions and actions towards the development of a provincial strategy that supports safe, accessible spaces for outdoor play, learning and living — to influence a national strategy over time.
4. Identify an effective method to measure, monitor and report on the amount of outdoor natural play Canadian children experience and its impact on the health and well being of children.

The conference invites social inclusion and cultural diversity while creating a safe and healthy experience for all participants and stakeholders.

SUSTAINABILITY

• The Healthy Children Healthy Spaces (HCHS) conference is following ethical and ecological principles to guide and inform all planning, organization, evaluation and delivery of the conference.

• Limiting resource use, water and energy consumption and ensuring ecological waste management practices reduce the ecological footprint for minimal carbon emissions while respecting the host environment is paramount.

• As much as possible, all products and services purchased for the event will be local, fair trade and ecological.