Get Kids out of House

first_imgIf you don’t see your place in nature, you can learn how you fit in, Davies said. Thefirst step is out the front door. “In summer, as in any season, children need to get involved and learn about theenvironment around them,” she said. “Most children have lost their relationship withthe land. “They need to care about something other than themselves,” she said. “They need to beresponsible for another living thing.” In Georgia, the 4-H Environmental Education program will welcome nearly 45,000children to four 4-H centers during the 1996-97 school year. The classes bring childrenout of walled classrooms and into nature’s classroom to study biology, science, historyand other subjects. But Davies isn’t thinking of your peace of mind. She’s concerned about how yourchildren connect with the world of nature. Children are naturally curious about theout-of-doors. But at some point, their interests switch to school, friends, TV andmusic. “Get them out of the house,” said Diane Davies, a 4-H environmental educationspecialist with the University of Georgia Extension Service. But help is on the way. Summer’s coming, parents. What are you going to do with the kids? The 4-H camping season will bring thousands of children back to nature this summer. Just get your children to play outdoors. Sit in the sand on the beach. Show them a snailor let them hold a fish, she said. Visit a farm. Go to summer camp.center_img Youngsters can also visit science centers designed to introduce them to life sciences andother topics. The Natural History Museum at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center near Eatontonhas two floors of exhibits and classrooms to stimulate children’s imagination and helpthem connect with nature. “Parents need to build a wide base of experience for their children,” Davies said. “Toconnect to the land, they need to understand their place in it. They need to see the bigpicture.” Luckily, the world is full of excellent ways for children to explore nature. The field ofenvironmental education is booming. “In the traditional school setting and in their more urbanized lifestyle, children areunlearning their connection to the environment,” Davies said. “We get children into the program who have never seen a sky full of stars before,”Davies said. “They’ve never walked in the woods at night or seen the ocean. They’venever understood life in these terms.” “In the past,” she said, “many children grew up on the farm. They understood naturalresources, where their food came from, they enjoyed hunting and fishing. Today,children lack that connection with the natural world.” Davies encourages parents to give children a pet — and the responsibility that goes withit. “These are full study experiences,” Davies said. “But just walking out the front door isa great way for children to get started learning about the environment. Just get them outof the house.”last_img

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