In the past 30 or 40 years, we’ve been getting really good at creating indoor activities. In part this could because of the advances in modern technology, maybe the comfort and safety of home, or maybe simply the convenience of the matter. Whatever the reason may be, our children are increasingly disconnected from nature, in fact, they may have a fear of nature. As our kids have moved inside, the rates of childhood obesity have tripled and the number of kids that are prescribed medication for ADHD have increased 40 times. This is what Richard Louv calls, ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ (I recently talked to ecotherapist Phoenix Smith about this).
A growing number of concerned people are doing something about this. They are starting ‘Nature Schools’ or ‘Forest Kindergarten’ to reconnect our preschoolers and their families with their natural environment.
I reached out to Kate Dawson and Emily Vera of Terra Nova Nature School in Richmond, British Columbia to find out what exactly a nature school is, why we should send our children to nature school, what a day at nature school looks like, and how to prepare for the outdoor classroom.
I’ve included clips from a Ted Talk by Ben Klasky called ‘Get Hooked On Nature’, cited an article from the New York Times called, ‘Preschool Without Walls’, included clips from an upcoming documentary called ‘School’s Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten’, and recommended that you check out the Natural Start Alliance to learn more for yourself.
Music by audionautix.com