BS in Child Development
Psychology and Child Development Department
With the increase of a fast paced lifestyle and more technology centered activities, children are spending an increased amount of time indoors. A decreased interaction with the natural environment is alarming to many researchers, including Richard Louv who has defined this lack of interaction as Nature Deficit Disorder, a disorder that may result in a diminished use of the senses, increased amount of attention difficulties and higher rates of physical and emotional illness. By engaging with nature, children will have the potential of concentrating and performing better within the classroom, to be more creative, are more cognitively and intellectually developed and have enhanced social relationships. Interaction with outdoors can also improve physical health while decreasing chances of obesity and reduce injuries by developing better motor skills and coordination. Slowly over time, schools in America have been taking away children’s outdoor recess and free time to concentrate on academic achievement while schools throughout Europe have centered their early education in Outdoor Schools where children learn while in the natural environment. Recommendations point to having more recreational time outdoors, creating more natural playgrounds, and enrolling children in nature focused schools.