Category Archives: Health

Is technology the enemy of an outdoor childhood?

iPhone banTechnology has an ever greater role in children’s lives, and its effects are the focus of ever more heated debate. It is easy for advocates of nature, outdoor play and everyday childhood freedoms to think that screens and gadgets are our enemy. But the truth is that things are a little more complicated than that.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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