College of Education and Human Development

Institute of Child Development

CDLS Director Sheila Williams Ridge participates in Stanford’s Climate and Young Children webinar

Dr. Sheila Williams Ridge


Dr. Sheila Williams Ridge, director of the Child Development Laboratory School, recently participated in a webinar on Climate and Young Children presented by the Stanford Center on Early Childhood. The webinar brought together leading voices from early childhood education, policy, and research to illuminate how climate change and extreme weather impacts young children, families, and communities.

The other speakers in the webinar included:

  • Christy Merrick, Director of the Natural Start Alliance
  • Antwanye Ford, Co-Chair of the Early Years Climate Action Task Force
  • Nat Kendall-Taylor, CEO at the FrameWorks Institute
  • Laura Schifter, Harvard Graduate School of Education Lecturer and Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute
  • Moderator Abigail Stewart-Kahn, Managing Director of the Stanford Center on Early Childhood

A main focus of the webinar was empowering children, families, and educators to explore solutions to the growing challenges of climate change. Williams Ridge shared how nature-based learning environments, such as the CDLS, promote children developing relationships with the world around them from a young age.

“What we really want to do is help children learn those early skills, like inquiry…problem solving and creativity,” Williams Ridge said during the webinar. “We want them to think of themselves as having the ability to do things to solve problems. We do that in their relationships with other young children, we want to do that when we’re talking about the climate. One of the best ways we can do that as adults, and really take our responsibility seriously, is to model those practices.”

You can find more about the webinar series, including resources and action items, here.

Watch the webinar below.