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The Importance of Connecting With Nature

July 18, 2013

TulipsIf facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused – a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love – then we wish for knowledge about the subject of our emotional response. Once found, it has lasting meaning. (Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder, 1965)

Recently, a new term has been in the news: Nature Deficient Disorder.This is a term coined by author Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods in order to explain how our societal disconnect with nature is affecting today’s children. According to Louv, we have entered a new era of suburban sprawl that restricts outdoor play, in conjunction with a plugged-in culture that draws kids indoors. Some ideas for preventing Nature Deficient Disorder include:

Understand What Drives Creativity

Studies show that nature fosters creativity and calms children struggling with information overload. Water, trees, bushes, flowers, woods, and streams are the best kind of toys because unlike action figures or collectables they can be anything.

Allow for Controlled Risk

In our media-saturated culture where parents hear about new child abductions almost everyday, how do we let our kids wander freely outside? Try going outside with your kids while also letting them experience unencumbered time to roam.

Schedule Outdoor Time

In a parenting culture chock-full of driving from one structured activity to another, parent may need to actually schedule time to stop and literally smell the roses. If that means writing “gone outside” on the family calendar each week or (ideally) each day, then get that pen out! There are lots of great activities for getting outside, even in your own backyard.

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” (Rachel Carson)  Please join the Morahs at BEECC as we take this journey with your children.

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