No Child Left Inside-Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder


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Presented at the Bridging the Gap Conference, October 2011, sponsored by Western State College and the Gunnison County Early Childhood Council

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  • Nature sounds at: Found in cultures across the globe, imitative dances and dramas with masks and costumes creates a meaningful relationship with the animal. This is “learning by heart” which is developing a stronger sense of instinct and intuition and growing in empathy with what we imitate. Think back to your childhood: Did you ever pretend to be an animal? I always remembered playing with our family pet dog as though I were a sibling dog. This promotes physical education, helpful mental attitudes, playful self-expression.
  • I relate well to the Red Fox (will share more later about my encounters) description - talented and entertaining, has moderately long legs and long, thick, soft body (hasn’t always been soft!) habitat - adaptable to most habitats within its  range, but usually prefers open country with moderate cover. I’ve moved to Gunnison 6 years ago and served as the preschool/elementary school counselor until this year. diet -I’m an opportunistic feeder and my wife would agree. range -widely across US like evident by my siblings and parents behavior - Fox pups can be born from March in southern areas which is when my daughter was born 7 mo ago today in our home which is South of town. I’m an LPC, BCPCC and integrative health mentor. and my name is Eric Krawczyk- Give Thanks Other logistics: Email list if want ppt presentation We’re not experts, but advocates/messengers for the movement Will give your groups time to discuss so hold questions to those breaks Like the Nature Names activity we will facilitate more personal nature connection experiences later on though the conference schedule description says it would be shared. Workshop Overview: Growing emphasis on test scores translating into more time in classrooms and less time playing outside, dominating digital distractions and schedules busy with soccer practices, music recitals, and extra-curricular projects have broken the bond between children and nature.  Each of these has value, but collectively they result in all-time high obesity, diabetes, ADHD, reduced cognitive functioning and creativity, not to mention the destruction of nature’s precious resources for our future generations. Environmental literacy is a vibrant educational movement spreading throughout learning communities.  This workshop describes the ancient way of passing on knowledge and connection to nature that gently draws children to the edge of their knowledge and experience and helps children realize their full potential. The second half of this workshop describes some playful activities that parents, educators, childcare professionals can use to help children restore their nature connections by re-connecting their sensory systems, rational processes, and imagination to the world around them.
  • Presentation and research is child focused, but research also shows that adults who’ve had a nature connection from their childhoods are losing this awareness and having negative health effects as well.
  • On April 24, 2006, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, published in 2005, called for a nationwide campaign to “Leave No Child Inside” and a movement to reconnect children and nature.
  • Someone who has few to few to no attributes of connection which I’ll present later.
  • *Technology *Economic growth *City/residential planning (pg 116) 80% of US live in metropolitan areas with low access to parks, but a growing trend commercialization of open spaces that require sports rather than free self-directed play. What accessible open spaces are left in the city of Gunnison? *High stakes testing in schools (pg 203) Howard Gardner, ’83 Harvard multiple intelligence theory recently added “nature smart” or naturalist intelligence. Finland children don’t start school until age 7, wide leeway in how to teach nat’l curriculum, and enthusiastic about environment-based education. *Loss of place-based culture from transient careers *Personal/family- time, pleasure, and fear (pg 115) 1981-1997 time children spent in organized sport increased by 27%. Researchers at the U. of Maryland found that, between 1981 and 2003, children during the typical week lost over nine hours of discretionary time (hours not spent in school, child care, and so forth). When did playing in the park become “killing time” for the ever productive culture that’s more like “killing dreamtime” I’m guilty too! Loss of my later childhood time for natural play b/c of sports. Monthly camping club helped though. “ Time in nature is not leisure, it’s an essential investment in children’s health.” (Louv) Think about what your most memorable play memories are as a child. Were they the parent organized activities or your wandering free play?
  • Typical Americans spend 101 minutes in their car daily, 5 times the amount time they spend exercising. European countries’ hours on the job decreased b/w 2000-2005 while France legislated a 35 hr work week. Weekends in US aren’t for connection or leisure, but for undone chores.
  • Give group discussion break on how their experiences support/challenge this research
  • the authors say that the health benefits from outdoor play are only one aspect of the overall benefits. They suggest that the concept of “play” is more compelling and inviting to most adult caregivers, parents and guardians than “exercise.” Produces new generations of stewards of the Earth
  • I recommend it and to my clients all of the time. I’d like to see the medical field begin researching nature-less interior design, landscaping and architecture as causes of epidemics like cancer, obesity, diabetes, depression, and nervous disorders. Earthships are amazing natural system encountering buildings.
  • The study was performed with Hatch Act funds, and with support from the USDA CSREES National Research Initiative with a recommendation from the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council. University of Illinois natural resources and environmental sciences professor Frances (Ming) Kuo (left) and crop sciences visiting teaching associate Andrea Faber Taylor
  • You’ll experience later how connecting with nature enhances the senses and thus attention/memory.
  • -The National Cathedral is becoming a model for spiritual formation on environmental issues, as seen through the lens of faith and expanding to 5 major city churches. -Most people are either awakened to or are strengthened in their spiritual journey by experiences in the natural world. "At its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God's creation and the one human family. It is about protecting both 'the human environment' and the natural environment." (U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference) An educational nonprofit that inspires and equips Christians to become better stewards of the earth. Through church, campus, and media outreach, we build bridges that promote measurable environmental change and meaningful spiritual growth. (The Blessed Earth Mission) I direct an organization called Gunnison Creation Care which has a similar, but local mission. Tomorrow we’ll be making Earth Day a Church Day and hosting a Green-A-Fair and tree planting at Webster Hall from 11-2:00.
  • We need to know about these benefits Be intentional about taking children into nature This conversation must be at all levels of debate and sectors of society Must be place-based driven movement using community focal places Begin where you are and not where programs are at This is a culture change Support current efforts: Gunnison Creation Care, Mtn Roots, 4-H, Local Farms, Park/Rec, Nat’l/State Parks, Scouts, Nature/camping Clubs
  • “ Concerns about long-term consequences—affecting emotional well-being, physical health, learning abilities, environmental consciousnes —have spawned a national movement to ‘leave no child inside.’ In recent months, it has been the focus of Capitol Hill hearings, state legislative action, grassroots projects, a U.S. Forest Service initiative to get more children into the woods andm a national effort to promote a ‘green hour’ in each day.” — Washington Post, June, 2007 I watched our PE and recess time get shaved as GES implemented core reading and math curriculums.
  • Volunteers have been putting in lots of hours teaching 27 classroom lessons (1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades), and preparing snacks (over 900 snacks!) for the weeks of testing. This Friday is a big day for FTS too when the first grade class visits Parker Pastures.
  • Give group discussion break, start nature sounds, then stop & offer FAQ.
  • Long while before the movement was coined, John Young and his students have developed methods suggested in this book that have been field-tested for decades, in truth, for thousands of years. This Guide passes on this method of invisible schooling, so that people will connect with nature without knowing it. They'll soak up the language of plants and animals as naturally as any of us learned our native language. Do you remember learning to talk?  Probably not. Spoken language happened around you all the time, and allowed you to experiment with words, make mistakes, and every single day grow vocabulary. Mentoring with the language of nature happens just the same. With stories, games, songs, place-names, animal names, and more, you invisibly and subtly stretch your students’ language edges.
  • Take :05 to journal on these to prepare you for experiencing your first core routine Play nature sounds and pass out the Sit Spot Activity sheets We will remind with a return sound/call.
  • These attributes come from from the wisdom and teachings of nature and experienced elders from many traditions. ●The quiet mind and a sense of being fully present in the moment, which deepens access to one’s inner creativity ● Inner happiness and joy; ● Vitality and energy flowing in the body; ● An instinct & commitment to help others and make the world a better place; ● A deeply empathetic and sensitive connection to the natural world; ● Being truly helpful to others proactively, and in alignment with one’s gift and vision; ● Being fully alive and able to give oneself fully to chosen endeavors & actions; ● The ability to forgive and love others and oneself in a real and meaningful way
  • Symptoms of successful learning and learning goals.
  • No Child Left Inside-Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder

    1. 1. Welcome Activity Choose an animal and imitate its movements, behaviors, and personalities When you meet another animal take turns guessing each other’s animal form.• When you’ve met at least 3 animals, return to your seat.
    2. 2. No Child Left InsideSaving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder Eric Krawczyk, MA, LPC, BCPCC
    3. 3. Workshop ObjectivesParticipants will: understand some of the history and researchcontributing to NDD• be introduced to nature connection and its benefits• learn about and experience activities that prevent NDD• look at a new way to assess healthy connections• integrate knowledge into personal next steps
    4. 4. The Book That Launched a Movement“Nature-deficit disorder is not an official diagnosis but a way of viewing the problem, and describes the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of thesenses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical andemotional illnesses. The disorder can be detected in individuals, families, and communities.” — Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods
    5. 5. What is Nature Deficit DisorderI like to play indoors better cause thats where all the electrical outlets are. -a fourth-grader in San Diego Unplug
    6. 6. Causes of NDD*New media and natural resource technologies*Economic growth & prosperity*City/residential planning*High stakes testing in schools*Loss of place-based knowledge from occupational migration*Personal/family cultural changes- time, pleasure, and fear
    7. 7. What Research Says: The DeficitChildren are spending 40 to 65 hours or more a week attached to electronic media.Fewer than 1 in 5 children walk or ride a bike to school.Childhood obesity has increased from 4% in the 1960s to about 20% today.Children have less time for unstructured, creative play in the outdoors than ever before in human history.
    8. 8. Research• Preschoolers in a cross-sectional study spent 89% of their days at daycare centers doing sedentary activity. When even outdoors, kids spent 56% of their time in sedentary activity. (Brown WH, et al "Physical activity in preschools" Child Dev 2009)• Dr. Paul Dykema has practiced general Pediatrics for nearly 45 years, giving him a longitudinal view of the health of American children. The Michigan pediatrician states that, “among the most striking changes I have observed over my career are the rise of obesity, type 2 Diabetes, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), anxiety and depression.” He continues, “There are many factors contributing to the increase of these disorders in children but it is apparent that the lack of outdoor, unstructured and imaginative play is a significant contributor.” (Children & Nature Network 2010 Report Progress, Initiatives, Studies, Tools, Networks, and Innovation. Cheryl Charles Richard Louv Sara St. Antoine. C&NN. October 2010) Young people ages 8-18 spend more than 7 1⁄2 hours a day on smart phones and computers and watching television—over 53 hours a week plugged into electronic media. (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2005)
    9. 9. Research• Opportunity for recess has declined in many schools. Yet children who have more time for recess in school are better behaved and learn more. (Barros, Silver, and Stein, “School Recess and Group Classroom Behavior,” Pediatrics, February 2009) Eighty-five percent of mothers said TV and computer games were the number one reason for the lack of outdoor play; 82% identified crime and safety concerns as factors that prevent their children from playing outdoors. (Clements, “An Investigation of the Status of Outdoor Play,” Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 2004)• Compared to the 1970s, children now spend 50% less time in unstructured outdoor activities. (Juster et al. “Major Changes Have Taken Place in How Children and Teens Spend Their Time,” 2004) Children ages 10 to 16 now spend, on average, only 12.6 minutes per day in vigorous physical activity. Yet they spend an average of 10.4 waking hours each day relatively motionless. (Strauss et al., “Psychosocial Correlates of Physical Activity in Healthy Children,” 2001)
    10. 10. Healing the broken bond Healing the broken bond between our young and nature is in everyone’s self-interest, not only because aesthetics or justice demand it, but also because our mental, physical and spiritual health depend upon it. Richard Louv Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder On Education
    11. 11. What is Nature Connection?Experiences that:*encompass core routines*instill wonder and foster curiosity *take place in outdoor settingsranging from backyards toneighborhoods to city parks towilderness *take the shape of guided activitiesas well as unstructured nature playin children’s everyday lives
    12. 12. BenefitsHappier: Nature play increases self esteem,improves psychological health and reduces stress.Children learn self-discipline and are more cooperativeHealthier: Nature play improves physical conditioningand reduces obesity. Physicians are even prescribing it.Smarter: Nature play stimulates creativity andimproves problem solving. Children do better in school.Burdette, Hillary L., M.D., M.S.; and Robert C. Whitaker, M.D, M.P.H. "Resurrecting Free Play in Young Children: Looking Beyond Fitness and Fatness to Attention, Affiliation and Affect." © 2005 American Medical Association.
    13. 13. Benefit ResearchProximity to, views of, and daily exposure to natural settings has been associated withchildren’s ability to focus and enhances cognitive abilities (Wells, 2000).Children who experience school grounds with diverse natural settings are more physicallyactive, more aware of nutrition and more civil to one another (Bell and Dyment, 2006).The more vegetation a child had in their neighborhood, the lower their body weight changes.The researchers also found that children in more vegetated settings were less likely to have ahigher BMI over 2 years as compared to children in less vegetated settings. (Bell, J. F., Wilson, J. S., & Liu,G. C. (2008). Neighborhood greenness and 2-year changes in Body Mass Index of children and youth. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 35(6), 547-553)In two recent nationwide surveys in Holland, people who lived within one to three kilometers ofgreen space reported significantly better health than those without such access, afterresearchers controlled for socioeconomic status, age, and other factors (de Vries et al., 2003;Maas et al., 2006) Studies of students in California and nationwide showed that schools that used outdoorclassrooms and other forms of nature-based experiential education were associated withsignificant student gains in social studies, science, language arts, and math. (U.S.’s State Educationand Environment Roundtable)
    14. 14. Research on ADHD Twenty minutes in a park setting was“Overall, our findings sufficient to elevate attentionindicate that exposure performance relative to the sameto ordinary natural amount of time in other settings.settings in the course These findings indicate thatof common after- environments can enhance attentionschool and weekend not only in the general population butactivities may be also in ADHD populations. "Doses ofwidely effective in nature" might serve as a safe,reducing attention inexpensive, widely accessible newdeficit symptoms in tool in the tool kit for managingchildren.” ADHD symptoms.Kuo FE, Taylor AF. A potential natural treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity AF. Kuo FE, Taylor disorder: evidence from a national study. Am J Public Health. 2004;94(9):158 Children with attention deficits concentrate better after walk in the park.
    15. 15. Effects on the SpiritTo be spiritual is to be constantly amazed.“As a parent, you don’t encourage children to experience nature because it’spretty, but because your children are exposed to something larger and longerstanding than their immediate human existence.” (Paul Gorman, founder of theNational Religious Partnership for the Environment)Support has come from the Sierra Club to the 700 Club — including religious leaders, liberaland conservative, who understand that all spiritual life begins with a sense of wonder, and thatone of the first windows to wonder is the natural world. “Christians should take the lead in re-connecting with nature and disconnecting from machines,” writes R. Albert Mohler Jr.,president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the SouthernBaptist Convention. Wonder is necessary to spiritual growth
    16. 16. INDICATORS OF PROGRESS:*Nature-Deficit Disorder moves into the public vernacular*Physicians are recommending time in nature for children’s healthy development*Illinois Governor Quinn re-opens state parks and cites Last Child in the Woods*National parks and state parks across North America launch campaigns to connectfamilies to nature; visits grow*Sesame Street changes its set for the first time in 40 years—to include nature!*Nature-focused preschools, other nature-themed schools, and school gardens are growing*The White House launches America’s Great Outdoors Campaign and the First Ladycreates “Let’s Move Outside!”*Networks of young Natural Leaders and Natural Teachers are spreading*Across North America and now in Europe and Australia, families are banding together tocreate family nature clubs*A growing number of state and regional children and nature campaigns are self-organizing and growing, demonstrating a movement moves!
    17. 17. No Child Left Inside Act 2011‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 1 year after thedate of enactment of the No Child Left Inside Act of2011, a State educational agency shall, (A) submit anenvironmental literacy plan for prekindergartenthrough grade 12 to the Secretary for peer review andapproval that will ensure that elementary andsecondary school students in the State areenvironmentally literate and (B) begin theimplementation of such plan in the State.”
    18. 18. The Environmental Literacy Plan must:“(1) Prepare students to understand, analyze, andaddress the major environmental challenges facing thestudents’ State and the United States.”(2) Provide field experiences as part of the regularschool curriculum and create programs that contributeto healthy lifestyles through outdoor recreation andsound nutrition.
    19. 19. Local Responses• Mountain Roots’ Farm To School: Reconnecting kids to the land by teaching kids what good, nutritious food tastes like, why it is good for them, where it comes from, and how it is grown.• Green Souls Nature Club: offers multi- generational programs and events that strengthen nature connections with ourselves, others, and our souls while building ecological, social and cultural resilience in Gunnison
    20. 20. The decline in children’s experience of nature will not change until a fundamental shift occurs in the attitudes and practices of developers, designers, educators, political leaders, and ordinary citizens. The enormous challenge facing us is how to minimize and mitigate the adverse environmental impacts of the modern built environment and how to provide more positive opportunities for contact with nature among children and adults as an integral part of everyday life.– Dr. Stephen R. Kellert, Building for Life
    21. 21. Jon Young on NDD
    22. 22. Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with NatureA radical approach that usesno textbooks or tests, butsimply starts at the roots ofnature education by engagingpeople in direct experiencewith the plants and animalsjust beyond the edge of theirback yards.Good medicine for NDD andmuch cheaper thanpharmaceuticals
    23. 23. Some Core Routines of Nature Connection
    24. 24. Core Routines DescribedOur beliefs and behaviors are areflection of our brainpatterning.Need to shift our routines inorder to reconnect, recover andrestore our awarenessAwakens habits of SensoryAwareness, cultivatesKnowledge of Place, andconnects people to the NaturalWorld
    25. 25. What About You?What do you remember loving to do as a child?What were you favorite games to play?What did you do for fun with your friends?What were your favorite toys?What captured your curiosity?What stories and songs made up your world?Who were your favorite grownup playmates?What Child Passions do you still enjoy?Which Child Passions do the children in your life enjoy?
    26. 26. More
    27. 27. Thank you!
    28. 28. Genuine Measurement of Learning Indicators of Awareness Common Sense Aliveness & Agility Inquisitive Focus Caring and Tending Service to the Community Awe and Reverence Self-Sufficiency Quiet Mind