If children lose contact with nature they won’t fight for it

Good language in here for project proposals that involve taking student groups to farms and gardens. That the number of children involved in creative outdoor activities fell so quickly is shocking and can be addressed by activities that markets organize. Also, how access to nature can be a creative stimulant for later learning could also be the basis of your project for your targeted market day activities.

The remarkable collapse of children’s engagement with nature – which is even faster than the collapse of the natural world – is recorded in Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods, and in a report published recently by the National Trust. Since the 1970s the area in which children may roam without supervision has decreased by almost 90%. In one generation the proportion of children regularly playing in wild places in the UK has fallen from more than half to fewer than one in 10. In the US, in just six years (1997-2003) children with particular outdoor hobbies fell by half. Eleven- to 15-year-olds in Britain now spend, on average, half their waking day in front of a screen.

In her famous essay the Ecology of Imagination in Childhood, Edith Cobb proposed that contact with nature stimulates creativity. Reviewing the biographies of 300 “geniuses”, she exposed a common theme: intense experiences of the natural world in the middle age of childhood (between five and 12). Animals and plants, she contended, are among “the figures of speech in the rhetoric of play … which the genius in particular of later life seems to recall”.

Studies in several nations show that children’s games are more creative in green places than in concrete playgrounds. Natural spaces encourage fantasy and roleplay, reasoning and observation. The social standing of children there depends less on physical dominance, more on inventiveness and language skills. Perhaps forcing children to study so much, rather than running wild in the woods and fields, is counter-productive.

UTNE Altwire – If children lose contact with nature they won't fight for it.


1 Comment

  1. I have noticed that people are afraid of the outdoors. You might get bit by a snake, the sun’s rays will give you cancer so you can’t go outside during the middle of the day, but if you go outside when it’s morning or at night, you’ll get bit by a deadly mosquito and die of the west nile virus.

    Don’t forget all of the deadly plants. You might get attacked by a poison ivy or poison oak. Poisoned wild berries or wild mushrooms are everywhere.

    Wild animals and deranged criminals live in the woods. You can’t just let your kids roam free without adequate supervision. Parents have no time to spend supervising their children because they are so busy working to afford to pay the bills and pay for all those time saving gadgets and restaurant meals and educational toys and expensive houses so people will not think they are lazy.


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