I've been reading a report by the National Trust on a phenomenon which they have termed Nature Deficit Disorder. I found it compelling reading; much of what is said there supports some of the conclusions I have developed since having children. It summarises some of the root causes of the problem - exaggerated fears among parents (both of road accidents, other injuries and of 'stranger danger'); the increasing amount of time spent in front of screens (the statistics on how much television and computer time the average UK child and teenager spends continue to shock me); the hectic pace of life which results in less time spent at 'leisure'.
Of particular interest here is the discussion about how children who are freed from their desks learn better in four specific ways:
1) Cognitive impacts (greater knowledge and understanding)
2) Affective impacts (attitudes, values, beliefs and self-perceptions)
3) Interpersonal and social impacts (communication skills, leadership and teamwork)
4) Physical and behavioural impacts (fitness, personal behaviours and social actions).
'So, children who learn outdoors know more, understand more, feel better, behave better, work more co-operativel and are physically healthier. Importantly, this is not just for able and motivated pupils: under-achievers also do better in a natural environment, especially when exposed to high quality, stimulating activities'.
Further barriers and potential solutions are discussed.
Consider the report. Are there any simple changes you can make which will allow your children more time outside to explore, and to harness all the benefits of increased contact with nature?
- I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.