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Why Kids Need Nature
October 24, 2008
The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
In the popular Exchange guidebook, Caring Spaces, Learning Places: Children’s Environments that Work, Jim Greenman, observes, “Both at home and in child care, children are losing time, space, and the variety of experience outdoors that has been integral to the development of humankind. They are losing habitat… They are losing necessary experience and gaining weight.” Greenman goes on to cite eight reasons children need to experience nature, including…
* Nature is bountiful. There are shapes and sizes, colors and textures, smells and tastes; an enormous variety of substances. In a world of catalogs and consumable objects, designed spaces and programmed areas, sometimes it helps to remember that the natural world is full of multi-dimensional, unassailing educational experiences for children. Nature is hard, soft, fragile, heavy, light, smooth, and rough. Armed with our senses, we explore the world and call the adventure science, or if you prefer, cognitive development, classification, sensory development, or perceptual-motor learning.
* Nature nourishes and heals. Human beings evolved outdoors. Our bodies need sunlight and fresh air. Our minds need the experience and challenges that nature presents. Our souls need the day-to-day appreciation for the miracle of the world and all its complexity. Without a deep sense of awe at the vastness and majesty of the nature world that humbles us, and a simultaneous ennobling sense that we are intrinsically a part of that world, we are diminished.
Caring Spaces — A Must-Have Resource
Caring Spaces, Learning Places: Children’s Environments That Work is a book of ideas, observations, problems, solutions, examples, resources, photographs, and poetry. Here you will find best of current thinking about children’s environments ‘” 360 pages to challenge you, stimulate you, inspire you.
ExchangeEveryDay is a free service of Exchange Magazine. View this article online at ChildCareExchange.com.