ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers CUR118: Outdoor STEAM Activities and Project Based Learning as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users during the month of June.

There are a multitude of studies that document the benefits of spending time outdoors. Some studies cite benefits ranging from reduced stress to improved memory and immunity. Other studies show that spending time outdoors leads to better mental health and vision. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that the rate of childhood obesity has doubled in the last 30 years. A recent study conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association found that close to half of the adult respondents spent less than 30 minutes outdoors each day. The study participants identified increased use of technology and television viewing as two of the major barriers to participating in outdoor activities.

At the same time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) related fields will increase by over a million and a half by the year 2022. Some of these jobs will focus on the outdoors and the environment, but many others will be located in front of a computer, or in a lab, classroom, office, or factory.

Early educators are in a unique position to create a balance between indoor and outdoor experiences. Teachers can begin to prepare children for the jobs of the future by inspiring curiosity and instilling a love of learning. At the same time, they have the opportunity to help children establish healthy habits and an appreciation of the great outdoors. The Outdoor STEAM Activities and Project Based Learning course provides ways teachers can explore outdoor STEAM related activities using a project based approach
as a way to promote the development of important 21st century skills.

“Teachers can use STEAM related activities to encourage children to explore elements of nature and experience beneficial effects of being outdoors,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI. “This course helps educators explore a teaching strategy called project based learning that can be used as a framework for structuring STEAM lessons. We’re pleased to provide this training as our new user trial course in order to inspire richer learning environments for our children.”

Outdoor STEAM Activities and Project Based Learning is a two-hour, beginner-level course and grants 0.2 IACET CEU upon successful completion. Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses as block hours through CCEI online enrollment.

For more information, visit www.cceionline.edu or call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST