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                                            NATURE IS ALL OUR CHILDREN NEED 

We were the last generation who played outside, ran freely in the fields, jumped on puddles, climbed trees, had real pets, dug holes, smell flowers, woke up at dawn, played in Mud pie kitchens in our backyards, noticed the rainbows, felt the rain, could detect squirrels, and discover bugs........

Although today's children have better Internet connections, they never get the opportunity to connect with Nature...

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On one hand,with the advent of technology, humans are evolving their brains, exploring new Planets , reaching new heights of human civilization, but on the other hand they are loosing humanity, facing the death of great civilizations, reaching the new heights of spiritual degradation and drowning into the depth of corruption on all emotional and social parameters.


This is the first time in the history of mankind that we started fearing Nature, so much that we ask our children to go inside when it rains, to hide themselves inside the man-made structures when it snows, to cover themselves more when the sun shines, to wear boots when contacted with sand, to watch out when they sit near streams or lakes, to shout when they witness lizards or bugs, to kill when they encounter ants, to stay away from dirt and soil when they want to go crazy playing on it, to lock themselves indoors when they encounter windy days, to become deaf so that they can never hear the sounds of birds chirping and the squirrels chittering, to go blind when a flower is blossoming, to be ignorant to see the wonders of nature all in their backyards.


Gone are the days when children walked to school, when they ran freely in the fields, when they took the back streets to enter the woods, when they climbed trees and discover nests of birds, when they wandered and explore the gardens, when they could feel the sand and jump on puddles, when they monitor wandering animals and discover their habitats , when they collected flowers and made necklaces , when they dug cave like holes and hid treasures, when they created their own mud kitchens, when they discovered the changing sky and could predict the weather, when they spotted the injured birds, when they could predict the perfect season to fly their kites, when they could calculate the high tides on summer days....
There are millions of explorations and discoveries which were made by children everyday, every moment.
But gone are the days......


Contrary to what is happening now in our modern day human societies, we can still Observe children and their love for Nature , their learning appetite and their Awe-based exploration. But we need to give them a natural environment to observe their behavior and it's connection with nature. 


MY OBSERVATIONS ABOUT CHILD'S LEARNING:

I could see how children dive into an Imaginary world, where they exist with their own fantasy: it's wonderful to witness their wilderness and curiosity. I was wondering and feeling ashamed how we adult think about children , how much we underestimate their powers, their motivation level, their curiosity, and sense of Awe....it’s like I'm discovering HUMAN BEINGS on my own apart from what I knew about them.

  Every child learns in his own way, I discovered that each one experienced a unique way of grasping, so it’s all about INDIVIDUAL UNIQUE LEARNIN , which cannot be generalized .That's the beauty of natural  learning.



As my Journey of Observation continued, I started exploring more deeply, and became more interested into knowing HOW CHILDREN LEARN NATURALLY rather than focusing on HOW I made them learn the way I choose.
 Amazing discoveries kept bombarded my senses and I was recording those facts to see how we as adults ignored the Power of Play in the learning process.
Observing the natural Play of children, I discovered another truth that Nature is a force to tap the natural CURIOSITY in children which automatically guides them to Explore.





 “Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.”
- John Lubbock


The "immense concentration of a child" is the natural outcome when he works in nature, we need not to do anything to build up the span of attention in children or speed up their curiosity or raise their concentration level. It’s already there in their SOULS. Stickers and behavior Charts (artificial reward systems) never work in reality, it only makes a child greedy and ignorant.

No use to shout at them to pay attention. If the situations, the materials, the problems before the child do not interest him, his attention will slip off to what does interest him, and no amount of exhortation of threats will bring it back.”
- John Holt


Children can never be seen so satisfied as can be seen when they reach their goals and targets by themselves .And it is not we (adults) who can direct them towards their UNIQUE GOALS , its embedded inside them and they are the best judges and leaders of their destiny, if only we can think differently .
In the words of Maria Montessori," "When children come into contact with NATURE, they reveal their strength".

Hence , the need for Nature based schools and learning environment is more deeper today than anytime in the history of man..And if we want to Inspire the young minds, motivate more Innovators and Change makers , we have to Reinvent the idea of Nature schools.
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”
- Rachel Carson

         
               Watch the Nature sounds Video:

              http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2smvyl

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Children Learn Best in their Freeplay: OUTDOORS BRING SELF-AWARENESS, CREATIVITY AND PROB...: OUTDOORS BRING SELF-AWARENESS, CREATIVITY AND PROBLEM SOLVING AMONG BOYS........... "When children come into contact with NATURE, t...

Children Learn Best in their Freeplay: SENSE OF DISCOVERY IS INNATE IN CHILDREN ,THEY DON...

Children Learn Best in their Freeplay: SENSE OF DISCOVERY IS INNATE IN CHILDREN ,THEY DON...:                                                         DISCOVERER ..... " Our aim is not merely to make the child understand, and s...
     Children Who Spend Time in Nature Will Always Care for It
             A NEW NATURE MOVEMENT IN ASIA 


“When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.”
— Maria Montessori

We believe there is an urgent need to bring a paradigm shift in education, especially in the early years, so that children’s tendencies to explore nature will become the basis of our education system. Our focus should be on nature-play, which has the power to develop a healthy child in terms of physical, psychological, emotional, social, and intellectual terms. Nature-play is not a new discovery when it comes to educating young minds; it’s the only medium used by man throughout history to learn and discover the hidden magic of the universe.


Environmental researchers are constantly reminding us of the dangers and threats our world is facing starting with global warming and extending to extreme water crises. Scientists and communities, governments and agencies are struggling to combat the damage. We believe that short term, we have to take immediate measures to minimize the damaging effects. But if we want to work on a long-term basis, we have to start from scratch; to produce a generation of people who not only think about solutions to the vast environmental problems, but also participate in creating a sustainable environment. This can only be done through a revolutionary nature-based education system with campaigns and ‘green’ programs, especially in the early years to instill love for nature: children who spend time in nature will always care for it. This is a fact which we are witnessing. People who spend their childhood in nature are the ones who are taking the initiative to identify environmental problems, to combat them by offering solutions, to choose environmental-related professions, and to work with their hearts to save the earth and its habitats from disaster


Instead of developing their own educational modules, educators should be observing children in their natural surroundings to see how they learn. It’s our observation that children are naturally curious. Researchers are proving that educators can use nature as a force to attract natural curiosity and exploration tendencies in children. The “immense concentration of a child” is the natural outcome when he works in nature; we do not need to do anything to build up children’s attention spans or speed up their curiosity — it’s already there. It’s a chain reaction: nature awakens natural curiosity, which leads to exploration and ends up in discovery; that’s how humans learn. “A book of botany or zoology has the power to stimulate the already curious human mind, but nature has the power to change this curiosity into discovery” (Erum 2010, Children & Nature Network blog). 



I have observed this in my students. Their senses sharpen dramatically as soon as they are taken outside. Their sense of wonder appears, leading them to investigate like scientists: „ They discover the laws of nature every day. „ As they play, their senses alert them to the different sizes, colors, and shapes of rocks. „ They experience the amazing strength in a piece of rock as compared to a piece of leaf. „ They discover the law of gravity when they throw one of those rocks and observe the glorious effect it has on water when it lands in a pool. „ They learn about climate, seasons, weather, and all about botany when they play in seasonal gardens. Ultimately, children understand the whole landscape all by playing in nature.




My message is simple. When we start realizing the power of discovery on children’s learning and lives, we will be able to champion environmental stewardship. Let’s change the way we educate young minds; let’s connect children with nature.


ABOUT ERUM:
Erum Kamran works as a Montessori Directress, Play expert, Nature-based curriculum developer, and children’s rights advocate. She founded the Children and Nature Network Asia (CNNA) in Asia to address connections between children and nature in educational and social surroundings through Teacher training programs and Children workshops.