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Science and Beyond

Connecting Children to Nature

Posted by: Rhonda October 6, 2015

“Look! The leaves are waving goodbye!” a young child exclaimed as her class left the park.  "Let's wave back!" encouraged the teacher, playfully responding to the observations of the child.

This creative response probably did more toward deepening the child’s emotional connection with nature than a scientific explanation would have done. “It isn’t always necessary to be scientifically accurate in how we respond to children’s observations and questions,” writes Ruth Wilson. “In fact, it would be a mistake to overlook or discourage children’s special way of seeing the world.”

Without doubt, the natural world provides the best resources for teaching science and scientific inquiry. But we should remember that all areas of a child’s life are enriched by daily connections to the natural world, not just academic learning. ”We know that children need more than knowledge and facts to become whole or to reach their potential as human beings. They also need a sense of purpose, positive self-identity, wonder, and joy.”

Especially in school settings that seem void or barren of nature, how can teachers do more to establish lasting emotional connections with natural world? Read the article.