Vernier Science Education - June 2024
 

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Informal Science

Nature Deficit Disorder

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Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

Adah, Your Nature Deficit Disorder is a problem that is slowly coming to the forefront. As a grandmother of two small children I have encountered articles in magazines for young mothers. I hope this concept becomes even more known to parents!! One of my daughter's solutions is to take the grandsons to the park whenever possible. One of my solutions is to take walks in the neighborhood and talk about what we are seeing around us that is nature. One other activity I do is planting things and watching them grow. I got a small head that is really a planter and put grass seed in it which grows very fast. The youngest grandson loves giving it a haircut every week. Learning about nature and learning to use scissors at the same time!! Betty

Jennifer Rahn Jennifer Rahn 67955 Points

One fun (and messy) activity is raising composting worms! Small children, even those through about middle school, seem to be fascinated by the circle of life, and they develop a great sense of caring for their worm's environment. Another thing that I remember well from my childhood is going camping - we were a bit remote - and waking up in the middle of the night, on purpose, to observe the sights and sounds of the night. I still enjoy just walking on a trail less traveled, finding a rock or log, and listening to the sounds, and smelling the air as it blows past. Do some journaling or drawing. This activity is adaptable for all ages - I used to take my Girl Scouts out and surprisingly, they seemed to enjoy the solitude for a few moments (as did I).

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10993 Points

It's so wonderful to hear about how many of us got to be outside in natural settings as children and that we're providing this experience for the next generations. I do not like the term "disorder" which implies a medical diagnosis. ADHD is a disorder, well-studied, and not "cured" by going outside, although going outside makes all (most?) of us feel better, and maybe behave more appropriately. The challenge for some programs is returning children to their parents in a relatively dry and clean state! I'm hoping to be outside most of the morning in a new part-time position. If I can have and store a set of boots and raincoats I can take the children out for walks during gentle rains too.

Sue Garcia Sue Garcia 42675 Points

Adah, What a perfect title for a trend that is becoming all to "popular". As a middle school teacher, I try to encourage my students to walk on the wild side...touch one of my hissing cockroaches,make a seed ball from dirt and wild seeds that we have collected (we then throw them out into the areas around out school where hey can grow), examine a square yard of outside dirt, grass, or anything that can be a habitat. The kids are absolutely excited when we do this....even touching the cockroaches (it may take several months before they get up enough nerve, but most do). But there are sad times that I have observed or overheard. The two most memorable comments I remember were from a 7th grade girl when we were making seed balls who said, "I don't do dirt" and refused to touch the mud and seeds, and the other comment from a parent picking up her young child from an after-school program after seeing that her child had been playing in the sand, "Who let my daughter get dirty? She is not allowed to play in the dirt!" How sad. I do not know how this new generation is going to change with their perception of nature, but as fewer and fewer adults are exposed to the wonders when they were children, the more our future generation is going to be deprived of something that is so wonderful and so obvious and yet so overlooked. I don't think it is going to be a good change either. But, is it inevitable???

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

Adah, the sad part is not only do many adults not look at the sky, but because of the city lights, they cannot see many of the wonders of the sky. I love the fact my cousin and her family are moving this very week to a home where her children are able to explore nature at its finest. They have a pond on the property, tall grasses, rocks, fallen logs and many other wonderful hiding places for all sorts of critters. Bella, Char, and Tommy will have the ability to discover and appreciate many of the wonderful memories I have of my childhood. I delighted when Kristy shared a photo of Bell with her “new friend,” a salamander. Kristy exclaimed delight at the find. From a very young age, the girls were taught it’s okay to reach out and touch nature, but to return it to its natural habitat. There is a generation still being raised with the delight of nature, for which I am thankful. I love the fact Kristy is allowing her children to touch the world around them, to get dirty and explore how things work. Such a valuable skill for later in life when they will have to ponder, wonder and problem solve.

Naomi Beverly Naomi Beverly 19130 Points

Adah- I've never heard of this Disorder...but I have plenty of experience with it! I am looking forward to reading more on the topic. Thanks for the resources. All the best- Naomi Beverly

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