Childhood and Nature by David Sobel

By David Sobel

David Sobel is without doubt one of the pioneers of the youngsters and nature flow. His e-book "Ecophobia," and now "Childhood and Nature," are a needs to learn for educators and fogeys inquisitive about the disconnect among youngsters and the flora and fauna.

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This is the opposite of the logic sequence that starts from a problem or a concept in the adult world and then moves downward to impose something on children. The classic example of this top-down mind-set in the past decade of environmental concern has been: The rain forests are disappearing; therefore let’s teach children about the horrors of rain-forest destruction so they will act to save them! Instead, I’m more interested in figuring out how to cultivate relationships between children and trees in their own backyards as a precursor to their working to save rain forests as they get older, when they can actually do something about it.

The idea is not primarily to educate or inform, but to foster love and caring. Brookfield Zoo wants kids to feel connected with nature. Letting them be in it and care for animals and nature is the best way to do that. (Brookfield Zoo 2001) Walking into the Play Zoo is like taking a deep breath of sweet mountain air. It’s like slipping on a shoe and having it fit perfectly and comfortably. With deep consciousness and conviction, the zoo staff has integrated a developmental understanding of early childhood with their concerns for animal protection.

Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators by David T. Sobel. © 2008 Stenhouse Publishers. No reproduction without written permission from publisher. Œ 22 Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators I started out thinking it went under Main Street into Blood Brook. But as I drove that way each day to and from school, I couldn’t see any likely culverts, and the stream vegetation sloped away to the north. Was there another stream? How did it get past the interstate? Within the first five minutes, I felt everything going well.

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