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Why Kids Need to Spend Time Outdoors
Does Your Child Suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder?
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I live in a small country town with lots of open space. Open my back gate and there are hundreds of acres of National Park but my city dwelling grandsons never venture out of the door into the garden let alone the park. And just try to get them to the beach! No way! But they will swim in the indoor pool.
They are totally hooked up to electronic devices every minute of the day but I don't think it is my role to disconnect them.
I will keep trying to get them outdoors, though.
My child is free-range.
He is also lovingly protected from the assault of television, computer game & internet culture.
I honestly cannot comprehend the why people permit media pollution in their homes.
My partner & I work in music & multimedia, we are acutely aware of the means of production.
I grew up outdoors! Love it. After reading about the benefits of outdoor classrooms, I organized an effort at my school to put one in. Planted lots of trees, a butterfly garden, entrance gardens, and had a classroom shelter built. We planted a lot of our gardens with flowers grown from seed and that led to a lot of measurement, comparing size of seed to size of plant, speed of growth and so on. The whole school was involved in the planting of trees and gardens.
My classes (second grade) also did Journey North tulip gardens and this led to joining in signs of spring, monarch watch, etc. The students also helped maintain the gardens.
What did the 1/2 hour a day do for those students? You would not believe the growth that those made in volunteering their time. Yes, no one was forced to do this! They grew socially, working together as a team and their math performance was increased. They journaled about their observations and read about different habitats and plant needs. They improved their reading skills!
When we got a new principal who did not understand this, we could no longer do it, so that gardens got torn out and a lot of the plants we'd grown went home with her for her new house.
During my career in public education I helped develop Outdoor Education programs and a residential ourdoor camp. Unfortunately, the cuts in financial support for education greatly impact these kinds of programs and student participation.
Our CA State Park Docent volunteer program in addition to providing free outdoor experiences for students helps raise money to pay for transportation for classes to come to the parks. Many of us try to open this door for our children.
The schools will still try to do it all for their students, and will get blamed for their inability to provide everything for all students. But ultimately, it was and is the parents responsibility to see that their children get these experiences.
I thought the article was good but didn't agre ewith how public schools are scaring kids out of nature. Not sure how that works being in public education. I would love to spend more time outside but labs and other work keep us inside. Not scarying but time and materials not able too is more like it.
I do agree that parents and kids are blasted with stranger danger. I grew up able to run aorund town with my siblings or friends but that was a different time and for my children a totally different setting (extreme small town, 50 people vs. a subdivision that has around 50 houses). My kids still og out an play but I go to the park with them, we have a fence so they don't wonder off and we watch when they ride their bikes. Mine are 6 right now and that seems reasonable that my stranger danger will get better over time.
Great Article!. Good points raised.
I was very blessed to grow up on the family farm (5 1/2 thousand acres) about 200miles from the major city.That was until I was 8 years old when we came to the city where we lived on a 1/3 acre block as well as our neighbour friends blocks .
Now that is not possible for the reasons mentioned in the article. I am fortunate to live on 1/2 acre and it is very interesting to see the difference in my grandchildren when they go out and play way down the back in the 'cubby house ' and dirt. Out side not a cross word, just playing happily, yet inside grumpy and fighting especially at home where they only have a very small block.
A few weeks back my other daughter and I took the 3 kids down to a riverside bushland in our area and they loved it, enjoying the open air, birds and trees and it was totally free!
So we do need some alternatives that provide the experence in relative freedom and safely since not all grannys have big backyards!
Thankyou for posting this from Richard
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