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?


Support Literacy – #GGUSBEE Raffle Prize Winner

Winner of the 2015 Raffle – Athenna Ledoux 

Congratulations and have fun with your family on this wonderful trip!
Congratulations and have fun with your family on this wonderful trip!

Her choose was the Orlando Adventure – hotel, flights and  1-day tickets to SeaWorld Orlando and 1-day/1-park tickets to Universal Resort Orlando – For 4

Sea World and more
Sea World and more
Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee
Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee

#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.