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Power of Nature to Nurture
December 10, 2019
I am a part of all that I have met.
-Alfred Tennyson

Janet E. Thompson and Ross A. Thompson, in the Exchange Essential article collection, “The Power of Nature to Nurture,” write: “Most people know intuitively that there is something magical about the experiences offered to children by the outdoors. We grew up hearing our parents and grandparents tell us stories about their childhood summers spent playing outside, interrupted only by a parent's call to come inside for dinner. It may have been a grandmother's accounts of life as a young child on an Iowa farm, exploring the fields, streams, and woods with her brothers and sisters. Or a father's nostalgic memories of summers spent tagging along with the neighborhood's ‘big kids’ and being allowed to enter into their suburban ‘kid culture’ of alleys and yards — building secret hideouts, collecting treasures, and making up their own games.

But we who advocate for children's greater access to rich outdoor experiences can no longer rely only on nostalgic anecdotes. Even our first-hand observations of the children in our care are not enough. Our 21st century society demands research to give credibility to our practices. We must be able to show a link between young children's connections with nature and their healthy development.”

At the recent National Association for the Education of Young children annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. Samuel Dennis, Dr Rod Diercks and Christine Kiewra presented a new research paper, Natural Outdoor Classrooms: A National Survey. The extensive research addresses what the Thompsons advocate by making the link between children’s regular time in natural outdoor classrooms and a multitude of developmental benefits.

Want to learn more about the research, and about why Bright Horizons is making a commitment to bringing more natural outdoor classrooms to their organization through a partnership with the Outdoor Classroom Project and Nature Explore? Join the free webinar, Nature Learning on Any Budget, Thursday, December 12, 2019, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST.

Click HERE to register.

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Comments (1)

Displaying 1 Comment
Cynthia Aldinger · December 10, 2019
Sacramento, CA, United States

This is lovely. Nature truly does nurture, and most of us have observed this firsthand. I do wonder sometimes, "Did I miss the moment when we, as educators, collectively agreed that 'research' holds the truth over and above our 'first-hand observations'?" Research has its value, certainly. My concern is that we so often feel we have to justify, via research, doing what we already know to be true. Thank you for the inspiring topics you often choose for Exchange Everyday.

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