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"For Me, the Beach is Heaven": Children's Need for Nature

by Pepper Robinson
September/October 2007
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/for-me-the-beach-is-heaven-childrens-need-for-nature/5017755/

“Thousands of tired, nerve shaken, over civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home, that wilderness is a necessity.”
John Muir

I have always believed in the importance of nature education and outdoor time for children. In the ’70s, I thought nothing of packing eight elementary school children in my station wagon and spending the week camping in Baxter State Park in Maine. As a Toddler teacher in an early childhood program, I bundled up the children in winter with snow suits, put on boots, and enjoyed many a winter snow. As a new center director, one of my first goals was to bring rich experiences with nature to the children. But it was my younger son who taught me how critical outdoor time and nature were to children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and other sensory difficulties.

Early childhood

I never knew that my son had ADHD until he reached an elementary school classroom. It wasn’t that Matthew was finally with professionals who could identify his difficulties; it was his struggles in the classroom that gave me the information. That was when I began attending meetings where teachers would say, “We think that you ...

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