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Becoming Whole: Developing an Ecological Identity

by Ruth Wilson
May/June 2011
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/becoming-whole-developing-an-ecological-identity/5019903/

Young children need positive connections with nature in order to thrive. While our physical reliance on nature for survival has never been seriously questioned, our emotional and spiritual ties to the natural world have not been as clearly understood. Over the past few years, however, there has been a growing awareness of children’s need to interact with nature both physically and emotionally. This awareness has resulted in a great deal of activity advocating closer bonds between children and nature. Books and articles have been published on the topic (such as The Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv); conferences have been organized (including the Working Forum on Nature Education); organizations have been started (including NACC â€" the Nature Action Collaborative for Children and C&NN â€" Children and Nature Network); environmental yards, nature playgrounds and children’s gardens are being established; and such movements as ‘Leave No Child Inside’ are gaining momentum both nationally and internationally. Even Sesame Street is producing videos and programming around the topics of learning about nature and caring for the Earth.

In response to these impressive initiatives designed to connect children with nature, some people may be asking, “What’s the ultimate purpose of all this activity? ...

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