Those who grew up playing in nature – and those of us who are “treehuggers” and “nature lovers” – know that we are deeply connected to and dependent upon the natural world. I know that whenever I step into a forest, my body and soul both give a sigh, as if I’ve returned to who and where I’m supposed to be. We know that kids today have developed a sort of “nature deficit disorder” (as author Richard Louv terms it), spending their time indoors, surrounded by electronic gadgets.
The Children & Nature Network, which works to reconnect children and nature, has compiled a great online library of research and studies that focus on nature in education and educational settings.
The site has organized the resources into these categories:
- Overviews about children’s contact with nature, particularly in educational settings
- Studies about the relationship between children’s outdoor behavior and school performance
- Studies about children’s physical activity and weight in relation to their school and outdoor environments
- Benefits to children from nature contact
- Examinations of children’s outdoor behavior
- Types of children’s outdoor spaces and the way they influence children’s experiences
- Examinations of children’s environmental knowledge and behavior
For those educators who might need either ideas or credible support for launching lesson plans and projects helping kids explore and immerse themselves in the natural world, this library is a helpful resource.
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