Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Notes on "Last Child in the Woods" Part II

Louv, Richard (2005, 2008).  Last Child in the Woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder.  New York, NY: Workman Publishing Company.

Part II Why The Young (and the Rest of Us) Need Nature
Climbing the Tree of Health
p. 43 “A widening circle of researchers believes that the loss of natural habitat, or the disconnection from nature even when it is available, has enormous implications for human health and child development.  They say the quality of exposure to nature affects our health at almost cellular level.”
p. 45 “the idea that natural landscapes, or at least gardens, can be therapeutic and restorative is, in fact, and ancient one that has filtered down through the ages.  Over two thousand years ago, Chinese Taoists created gardens and greenhouses they believed to be beneficial for health.”
p. 45 “Beginning in the 1870’s, the Quakers’ Friends Hospital in Pennsylvania used acres of natural landscape and a greenhouse as part of its treatment of mental illness.”
p. 46 “...Roger Ulrich, a Texas A&M researcher, has shown that people who watch images of natural landscape after a stressful experience calm markedly in only five minutes: their muscle tension, pulse, and skin-conductance ratings plummet.”
p. 47  “In the United States, children ages six to eleven spend about thirty hours a week looking at a TV or computer monitor.”
p. 48 “The physical exercise and emotional stretching that that children enjoy in unorganized play is more varied and less time-bound than is found in organized sports.”
p. 49 “Nature is often overlooked as a healing balm for the emotional hardships in a child’s life.”
p. 51 “Wells and colleague Gary Evans assessed the degree of nature in and around the homes of rural children in grades three through five.  They found that children with more nature near their homes received lower ratings than peers with less nature near their homes on measures of behavioral conduct disorders, anxiety, and depression.  Children with more nature near their homes also rated themselves higher than their corresponding peers on a global measure of self-worth.”

A Life of the Senses: Nature vs the Know-It-All State of Mind
p. 56 “Nature is beautiful but not always pretty.”
p. 58 “ human beings we need direct, natural experiences; we require fully activated senses in order to feel fully alive.”
p. 63 “Why do so many Americans say they want their children to watch less TV, yet continue to expand the opportunities for them to watch it?  More important, why do so many people consider the physical world no longer worth watching?”
p. 65 “Dewey argued a century ago that worship of secondary experience in childhood came with the risk of depersonalizing human life.”
p. 65 “In 1998 a controversial Carnegie Mellon University study found that people who spend even a few hours on the Internet each week suffer higher levels of depression and loneliness than people who use the Net infrequently.”
p. 67 “Much of our learning comes from doing, from making, from feeling with our hands; and though many would like to believe otherwise, the world is not entirely available from a keyboard.”
p. 68 “Not surprisingly, as the young grow up in a world of narrow yet overwhelming sensory input, many of them develop a wired, know-it-all state of mind.  That which cannot be Googled does not count.  Yet a fuller, grander, more mysterious world, one worthy of a child’s awe, is available to children and the rest of us.”

The “Eighth Intelligence”
p. 72 Howard Gardner “More recently he added an eighth intelligence: naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”).
p. 73 “However, the impact of nature experience on early childhood development is, in terms of neuroscience, understudied.”
p. 73 “Gardner’s designation of the eighth intelligence suggests another rich arena for research, but his theory has immediate application for teachers and parents who might otherwise overlook the importance of natural experience to learning and child development.”

The Genius of Childhood: How Nature Nurtures Creativity
p. 86 “As an expert in the design of play and learning environments, Moore has written that natural settings are essential for healthy child development because they stimulate all the senses and integrate informal play with formal learning.  According to Moore, multi-sensory experiences in nature help to build ‘the cognitive constructs necessary for sustained intellectual development,” and stimulate imagination by supplying the child with the free space and materials for what he calls children’s ‘architecture and artifacts.’”
p. 87 “Nature, which excites all the senses, remains the richest source of loose parts.”
p. 87 “The loose-parts theory is supported by studies of play that compare green, natural play areas with blacktop playgrounds.  Swedish studies found that children on asphalt playgrounds had play that was much more interrupted; they played in short segments.  But in more natural playgrounds, children invented whole sagas that they  carried from day to day to day--making and collecting meaning.”
p. 89 “Taylor’s and Kuo’s research demonstrated that children have greater ability to concentrate in more natural settings.”
p. 89 “What happens when creative children can no longer choose a green space in which to be creative?”
p. 92 “Nature offers a well from which many, famous or not, draw a creative sense of pattern and connection.”
p. 97 “The Japanese, said Hirshberg, recognized that American creativity comes largely from our freedom, our space--our physical space and our mental space.  He offered no academic studies to support his theory; nonetheless, his statement rang true, and it has stayed with me.  Growing up, many of us were blessed with natural space and the imagination that filled it.”
p. 98 “Nature presents the young with something so much greater than they are; it offers an environment where they can easily contemplate infinity and eternity.”

Nature-Deficit Disorder and the Restorative Environment
p. 100  “Ironically, the detachment of education from the physical world not only coincided with the dramatic rise in life-threatening childhood obesity but also with a growing body of evidence that links physical exercise and experience in nature to mental acuity and concentration.”
p. 102 “Children’s Hospital in Seattle maintains that each hour of TV watched per day by preschoolers increases by ten percent the likelihood that they will develop concentration problems and other symptoms of attention-deficit disorders by age seven.”
p. 104 The fascination factor associated with nature is restorative, and it helps relieve people from directed-attention fatigue.  Indeed, according to the Kaplans, nature can be the most effective source of such restorative relief.”
p. 104 ‘In a paper presented to the American Psychological Society in 1993, the Kaplans surveyed more than twelve hundred corporate  and state office workers.  Those with a window view of trees, bushes, or large lawns experiences significantly less frustration and more work enthusiasm than those employees without those views.”
p. 105 “In 2000, Wells conducted a study that found being close to nature, in general, helps boost a child’s attention span.”
p. 108 “More time in nature--combined with less television and more stimulating play and educational settings--may go a long way toward reducing attention deficits in children, and, just as important, increasing their joy in life.”
p. 109 “An expanded application of attention-restoration theory would be useful in the design of homes, classrooms, and curricula.”

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