Nature Deficit Disorder

As the days get longer and warmer, the outdoors begins to look inviting. Perhaps you have already begun dreaming of frequent outdoor class time, nature walks, and stomping in puddles with your children. If you have, you may belong to a select group of people. Richard Louv (2008) coined the term Nature Deficit Disorder – the concept that children are spending less time outdoors, to the detriment of their intellectual, emotional, and physical health. Swati Popat (“There’s Nature in Our Nature!” January/February 2010) stated about NDD: “This disconnect from nature is unknowingly contributing to hypertension, hyperactivity, and attention problems. We need the calming, cooling connection with nature.” Have you noticed any trends in your own school or day care center? When you take your children outside, how do you encourage them to interact with nature?