Tag Archives: health

Chief Medical Officer prescribes play and risk as well as pills

Sally DaviesThe call by Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Government’s top health advisor, for children to be given vitamin pills has kick-started another lively debate about the health of our nation’s children (this morning I switched on my radio to hear film-maker David ‘Project Wild Thing’ Bond flying the flag for nature, not pills, on BBC Five Live with Nicky Campbell). But that was just one media-friendly recommendation taken from 15 chapters and appendices of material. A closer look at the report shows a more thoughtful set of prescriptions, with some significant and positive messages about the value of outdoor play and the need for a balanced approach to risk. This post is a public service. Its aim is to relay some of the CMO’s messages, so that advocates for play and the outdoors can quickly find and make use of them.

Continue reading

Is ‘nature deficit disorder’ the right rallying cry?

Rosa in a riverThe term ‘nature deficit disorder’ – as used by the National Trust in its recent report – has come in  for criticism, in a Guardian article, and in a post by playwork academic Wendy Russell on Play England’s Love Outdoor Play website. I share some of the concerns raised. But I think too much semantics is being made of the phrase. The critique also takes too little account of what the children and nature movement is actually saying and doing.

Continue reading

National Trust calls for action on children and nature

NT Natural Childhood report coverThe National Trust this morning announced a two-month inquiry into children’s relationship with nature. Launching the inquiry with the publication of a report written by leading naturalist and broadcaster Stephen Moss, the Trust – Britain’s biggest charity, with over four million members – calls for concerted action to reconnect children with the natural world.

Continue reading

The outdoor child: doomed to extinction?

Shrinking horizons of childhoodEvery year since 1979 there has been a Big Garden Bird Watch, a UK-wide survey organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. I can’t help wondering about a survey of a different species: a Big Outdoor Child Watch.

Continue reading

Why does nature matter to children? What’s the evidence?

Sowing the seeds literature review coverWhat happens when children spend time in natural environments – and what happens if they do not? What does the empirical evidence say? And what other insights might the research literature hold? These were the questions that I wanted to answer in my literature review [pdf link] for the Sowing the Seeds project – published on 17th November, alongside the main report. Continue reading

London moves to reconnect children with nature

Sowing the seeds report front coverMy new report Sowing the Seeds: Reconnecting children with nature was launched at City Hall yesterday morning. The report, written for the London Sustainable Development Commission (the body that advises the Mayor of London on sustainability) sets out a new vision for children’s relationship with nature, and maps out an action plan to reintroduce nature into their lives.

Continue reading