For Immediate Release                      Contact:   Gail Towns              or           Tara Strickland
                                                                                   732.987.2266                          732.987.2291

Leave No Children Inside: Children and the Outdoors

Children and Healthier Lifestyles Focus of Two-Part Workshop at GCU

Lakewood, N.J., Apr. 8, 2010—Georgian Court University will show a screening of the film Where Do the Children Play? during a two-part workshop aimed at raising awareness about unhealthy lifestyles beginning in childhood. The April 22 event on the Lakewood campus of GCU also coincides with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

The Leave No Children Inside: Children and the Outdoors workshop, presented by GCU and the Ocean County Early Learning Council, aims to raise awareness of the problem of unhealthy lifestyles among children in suburban communities, as compared to those living in the city, and on islands, such as Michigan’s Beaver Island. Several years ago, researchers found that children on Beaver Island exercise more due to lack of large superstores and fast food places, and have the chance to really take in nature, while suburban kids have computers and are driven everywhere.

Gwen Forte, the director of the Children’s Home Society of New Jersey, Ocean County, which works with the Ocean County Early Learning Council, feels parents and children alike can take something away from this event.

“We hope that parents realize that children need to be playing outdoors. Sunshine is the best source of Vitamin D. We also hope that parents will grasp the concept that unstructured play is important in the development of healthy children,” says Ms. Forte. “We hope that parents understand that playing on the computer, watching TV, etc., has a definite correlation to childhood obesity,” she adds.

Session 1 of the Leave No Child Inside workshop is directed at early childhood educators and pre-professionals, health care professionals, and social workers. It includes the documentary screening as well as presentations by Elizabeth Goodenough, Ph.D., lecturer in comparative literature at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and film consultant; Christopher Cook, writer and director of the film; Claire Gallagher, Ed.D., GCU professor of education and architect; and other experts in the field. Breakout sessions follow the film screening, and a panel discussion follows lunch.

Session 1 will be in the Casino Auditorium on Thursday, April 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is $20 per person. The program includes a light breakfast, lunch, and offers 4.5 professional training hours.

Session 2 is for parents of preschool and elementary schoolchildren. During this evening session, participants will also view the documentary and take a tour of the GCU arboretum, which includes a number of exotic plant species, native plants of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and an array of very large oaks—many of them the oldest in Ocean County. While the parents watch the film and join in a panel discussion, their children have the chance to take part in interactive and appropriate activities in the arts and sciences. Youngsters will participate in science and art, movement, and music—all outdoors.

Session 2 will take place on Thursday, April 22, in the Casino Auditorium from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; the cost is $10 per person and includes a light dinner.

Reservations for both workshops are required, and can be made through the Office of Conferences and Special Events via e-mail at, or by calling 732.987.2263.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at One Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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