Lodi Enterprise: The Lodi School Board approved Nurtured in Nature, a learning initiative that encourages kindergarteners to play, be outside and just be kids at its regular meeting Sept. 11.
Kids are under greater pressure to achieve high standards, and most are so overscheduled they don’t have time to simply be children, Lodi Elementary Guidance Counselor Val Bilkey said. Bilkey introduced the unanimously-approved program to the board via PowerPoint presentation.
Research also shows that young children who engage in some form of unstructured play have better language and social skills, the ability to empathize with their peers and achieve higher levels of thinking, she said during her presentation. Being out in nature reaps many benefits of their own, she said, including reduced anxiety and improved cognition.
“We are already noticing a difference in our students when they are engaged in free play versus when they are in a classroom setting or even outside at recess,” Bilkey wrote in an email. “They communicate, problem-solve, work together and are better able to naturally self-regulate.”
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WiscNews.com: It was a day of celebration and remembrance at Lodi High School for school leaders from Thailand who on Thursday mourned the loss of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
“It’s a sad moment for the entire country,” said Supannachaht Plangngoen, or “Mr. Chaht” as he’s known by his friends in Lodi.
Supannachaht was one of 10 Thai educators who traveled to the school this week to extend a Memorandum of Understanding between Sa-nguan Ying School in Suphanburi, Thailand and Lodi High School. It’s a partnership that began with an exchange program in 2008 and was enhanced in 2011 to include distance-learning classes for both schools, a dual arrangement unlike any other in the state, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
The Thai educators spent the day visiting several classrooms before celebrating the partnership in a ceremony that featured national anthems from both countries — a fitting display of unity in the opinion of Principal Vince Breunig.
“We really find the similarities between our two cultures,” Breunig said of the partnership. Breunig signed the MOU in Thailand two years ago.
“We really see teenagers are teenagers, whether they’re here or in Thailand.
“In the news, in politics, we spend so much time focusing on how we’re different and not so much on how we’re the same. This shows how similar people are in most things.”
The distance-learning partnership between the schools is “very, very unique” for Thailand, as well, Supannachaht said, giving the Thailand school of 2,500 students a chance to “study abroad without leaving your country.”