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Inspiring Families to Embrace Children’s Daily Connections with Nature

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This edition of Wonder explores the following Universal Principle for Connecting the World's Children with Nature:

We believe it is important for families to understand the value of children's daily connections with nature. (Find the complete list of Universal Principles at
worldforumfoundation.org/nature.)

In today's world, families are bombarded with messages that tout the ­'latest and greatest' gadget to buy if we want our children to grow into happy, healthy, productive adults. We are overwhelmed with information that persuades us to provide the 'right' kind of experience for our ­children. Even though the benefits of a childhood grounded in a love of the earth far ­outweigh much of these claims, the value of children's daily connections to nature has yet to become regular prime-time news. As early childhood professionals, we can support parents who are feeling overwhelmed by promoting ­family lifestyle choices that include frequent interactions with the wonders of nature.

We can help parents experience the great joys of spending time with their children outdoors:

• We can share stories that help families see the small, simple ways children can experience nature as part of everyday learning.
• We can communicate the foundation of environmental stewardship that is being fostered.
• We can empower families with the knowledge that learning with nature is valuable.
• We can help parents become advocates for children and nature.

InspiringChildren's Spirit of ­Stewardship: A Toolkit for Families

Help parents understand that the best way to protect our environment in the future is to help our children grow up with a love for the earth today. This happens when children make positive, daily connections with the natural world in all parts of their lives.

A valuable home-school connection can be fostered if families use ideas
in the "Toolkit for Families" while schools implement activities
with the same theme. By supplementing efforts at school, we are giving ­children the opportunity to deepen their understandings by 'teaching' their families what they learned. Go to worldforumfoundation.org/nature to find the Environmental Action Kit:

• Click on the "Toolkit for Early Childhood Programs."
• Explore the Air in Motion activities on page 22 and 23. Have fun playing with the power of wind and air.
• Try the Use Wind Power idea on page 24.
• To extend the learning for children, be sure to share the corresponding pages from the "Toolkit for Families" so ­parents can try these at home:
Air in Motion on pages 10 and 11, and Use Wind Power on page 12.
• Let families know the activities in this Toolkit (designed for ages 3-8) will suggest fun and easy 'everyday' ways for them to focus on positive actions they can take together to help the world we share become a 'greener' and healthier place.


Personal Reflection:
A Personal Passion to Make a Change — Salote's Story

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