Nature is a key ingredient for learning!


Literacy for Life is proud to annouce the piloting of a new program called “Natured Kids”, which will be offered at the  Sheep River Library in Turner Valley, High River Library and Okotoks Library in the fall of 2016. The program will accept families with children aged 3 yrs to 5 years. The focus will be sharing ideas, knowledge and strategies with parents/caregivers on how to create “Natured Kids” and the reasons this is so important for a child’s long term wellness and learning. Long term impact from any program for children happens when their parents and caregivers give them the opportunity, on a daily basis to experience the joy of nature and learning.

Puddles as opportunities
Puddles as opportunities

In the past decade, the benefits of connecting to nature have been well documented in numerous scientific research studies and publications. Taken all together this research shows that children’s social, psychological, academic and physical health is positively impacted when they have daily contact with nature. All of the following positive impacts affect children’s early development and literacy and learning:

Supports multiple development domains: Nature is important to children’s development in every major way—intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically (Kellert, 2005).

Supports creativity and problem solving: Studies of children in schoolyards found that children engage in more creative forms of play in the green areas. They also played more cooperatively (Bell and Dyment,2006). Play in nature is especially important for developing capacities for creativity, problem-solving, and intellectual development (Kellert, 2005).

Enhances cognitive abilities: Proximity to, views of, and daily exposure to natural settings increases children’s ability to focus and enhances cognitive abilities (Wells, 2000).

Improves academic performance: Studies in the US show that schools that use outdoor classrooms andother forms of nature-based experiential education support significant student gains in social studies, science, language arts, and math. Students in outdoor science programs improved their science testing scores by 27% (American Institutes for Research, 2005).

Reduces Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms: Contact with the natural world can significantly reduce symptoms of attention deficit disorder in children as young as five years old (Kuo and Taylor, 2004).

Increases physical activity: Children who experience school grounds with diverse natural settings are more physically active, more aware of nutrition, more civil to one another and more creative (Bell and Dyment, 2006).

Improves nutrition: Children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables (Bell &Dyment, 2008) and to show higher levels of knowledge about nutrition (Waliczek, & Zajicek, 2006). They are also more likely to continue healthy eating habits throughout their lives (Morris & Zidenberg-Cherr, 2002).

Improves eyesight: More time spent outdoors is related to reduced rates of nearsightedness, also known as myopia, in children and adolescents (American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2011).

Improves social relations: Children will be smarter, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier when they have regular opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-of-doors (Burdette and Whitaker, 2005).

Improves self-discipline: Access to green spaces, and even a view of green settings, enhances peace, self-control and self-discipline within inner city youth, and particularly in girls (Taylor, Kuo and Sullivan, 2001).

Reduces stress: Green plants and vistas reduce stress among highly stressed children. Locations with greater number of plants, greener views, and access to natural play areas show more significant results. (Wells and Evans, 2003).

What do children want?


Time to Register – March 9th 2015

Literacy for Life offers a wide range of programs for families and adults. Check out our Parent/Child Pre-School Programs, School Aged Programs and Adult ProgramsOnline registration or call the office at 403.652.5090 starting March 9th 2015 for Spring Registration.

Our programs are free or low-cost and are open to all residents of the Municipal District of Foothills #31 in Alberta, Canada. Part of our service to the community is to provide information and resources for parents and agencies.  Visit our FaceBook and Pinterest for current information and resources

Literacy and learning are keys to success in life. It is never too late to make a difference in our learning. Literacy for Life programs provide a way for adults to seek out and engage in lifelong learning opportunities in the community – for themselves and their family. These programs help build the nine essential skills needed for work, family and community.


“It is important to affect an individual’s literacy development early, but as literacy and learning are a lifetime process, it is never too late and never too early.”

CTV video demonstrating the importance of the early years.

#15MinutesofFun Family Literacy Day January 27th 2014

Learning can happen at any time. Check out this video for great ways to share 15 Minutes of Fun with your family:

15 Minutes of Fun – Family Literacy Day

Family literacy refers to the many ways families develop and use literacy skills, from enjoying a storybook together at bedtime and during the day, to playing with word games, singing, writing to a relative or friend, sharing day-to-day tasks such as making a shopping list or using a recipe, and surfing the Internet for fun and interesting sites (Family Literacy in Canada: Profiles of Effective Practices, Adele Thomas, Soleil Publishing Inc., 1998).

Literacy for Life Foundation is gearing up in partnership with libraries, schools and the community in the MD of Foothills to celebrate Family Literacy Day and get the message out that literacy and learning happens everyday.

Spending time doing learning activities at home as a family is crucial.  Practicing these activities will help develop a love of learning for both parents and children, and help to develop important literacy skills.  Studies show beyond dispute that children’s achievements in school improves with increased parent involvement in education.  It’s not hard to practice literacy skills – turn everyday activities into learning experiences!

  • Driving is the perfect opportunity to practice literacy. Read signs billboards and license plates together, and show your children the proper way to read a map.
  • Team up to sort laundry, write a grocery list, or discover a new route to school, you are learning together.
  • Look and tell stories about people in family photos
  • Play a board game together as a family.
  • Cook and bake together.  Share, read and create recipes and then eat together.

Check out the tip sheets for more ideas and activities to use everyday!



If you would like more ideas or support for you and your family connect with Literacy for Life at 403.652.5090, check out our programs at or email  We have programs for parents and preschoolers, school aged children and adults.


Let’s Rhyme & Raise the Best Readers


Rhymers Will be Readers
Research in literacy and child development has found that if children know 8 nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are 4 years old, they are usually among the best readers by the time they are 8 years old.

Literacy for Life is excited to offer a fun and social program filled with rhyme and song for you and your baby.

Seniors and Babies Rhythm and Rhyme (0-15 months with Parent/caregiver)

Experience how much joy your brand new baby can offer while sharing in songs, rhymes and early literacy ideas with residents at the lodge. Registration begins March 25, 2013. To register follow the links below or call (403) 652-5090 in High River; (403) 938-2959 in Okotoks.  This program is now also offered at a NEW location – Todor Manor  in Okotoks. Please call numbers provided for more information.

Medicine Tree Manor – High River
7 Sessions – Spring
Apr 8 – May 27
(No class May 20)
2:30 – 3 PM
Click here to register

Sandstone Lodge – Okotoks
6 Sessions – Spring
Apr 8 – May 13
10 – 10:30 AM
Click here to register

Literacy for Life offers many programs supporting early literacy to all residents of the MD of Foothills. They are provided at little or no cost to the learner, family or community agency. Click here for our Program Calendar.


The first 5 years of life are critical for the healthy development of children. The experiences of early childhood form the core of our being, the code that shapes the rest of our lives. It is a time when children need to know they are loved, valued and respected. This, in turn, fosters the capacity to love, value and respect others.

A child’s early environment shapes the way their brain and body develops. A happy, healthy home and the availability of positive experiences will determine the strength of the brain’s developing architecture. In other words, a child’s early years are key to how their brains and bodies grow. Early experiences influence outcomes for healthy physical, intellectual, social and emotional growth.

This is a little scary when you think about your grown up children.  As a parent you wonder did you do everything you could have done?  The problem is you can’t go back and change what you did!  The majority of children grow into healthy productive adults. We can’t beat ourselves up as we did the best we could with the knowledge we had.  What we can do as we learn more about raising healthy happy children is to become involved in the community and support others that are still raising their chidlren.  We can support our children that are parents now and we can be the best grandparents ever!   Check out the  This is a network of agencies that are working together to promote the early years.  If you are a parent or a grandparent or a community member go to the network to find out what is going on in the community and to get information on best practise in the early years.