Nature Deficit Disorder

In his book, Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louve  addresses the dangers of ‘nature deficit disorder’.  In Orion Nature Quarterly, Louve’s article, Leave No Child Inside, again asserts the importance of creating opportunities for children to connect with the natural world.   

My previous post spoke about how I’m taking my students out for Forest School  sessions in the Tanus forest.  But  my children are fortunate and benefit from abundance and privilege.  What about children growing up in urban areas? How can adults nurture their connection to nature?

I think children’s connection to Mother Nature is primal.  Louve confirms:  “Harvard professor E. O. Wilson calls [it] the biophilia hypothesis, which is that human beings are innately attracted to nature….. there is something in us, which we do not fully understand, that needs an occasional immersion in nature”. 

Because of this primal connection to Mother Nature, children can appreciate her in the simplest of ways and in the bleakest of places.  Even in the city, one can find a dandelion pushing through the cracks in concrete.  I was recently in central Rome where I discovered pigeons are considered protected urban wildlife.  

It is especially critical in these times and in urban areas for teachers to foster young children’s connection to and love of nature.  No matter your circumstance, take a moment to observe a beetle wander the sidewalk.  Weave a flower crown of dandelions. Make a point of watching the birds.  Allow for wonder.   

How do you support your children’s appreciation for Mother Nature in your environment?  Leave a comment.

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