Children and Nature
For much of human evolution, the natural world was one of the most important contexts of children’s maturation. Indeed, the experience of nature was, and still may be, a critical component of human physical, emotional, intellectual, and even moral development. Yet scientific knowledge of the significance of nature during the different stages of childhood is sparse. This book provides scientific investigations and thought-provoking essays on children and nature.
Children and Nature incorporates research from cognitive science, developmental psychology, ecology, education, environmental studies, evolutionary psychology, political science, primatology, psychiatry, and social psychology. The authors examine the evolutionary significance of nature during childhood; the formation of children’s conceptions, values, and sympathies toward the natural world; how contact with nature affects children’s physical and mental development; and the educational and political consequences of the weakened childhood experience of nature in modern society.
About the Editors
Peter H. Kahn, Jr., is Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Human Interaction with Nature and Technological Systems Laboratory at the University of Washington. Kahn and Hasbach are coeditors of Ecopsychology: Science, Totems, and the Technological Species (MIT Press, 2012).
Stephen R. Kellert is Tweedy Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is the author of a number of books, including Building for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection, and the coeditor of Children and Nature: Psychological, Sociocultural, and Evolutionary Foundations (MIT Press).
“This book has an astonishing number of insights per page. The authors carefully provide good reasons to believe that experiences in nature are a cornerstone for the development of healthy children, who learn to act wisely in the environment and to create healthy societies.”
—Chris Myers, Professor and Director of Project Dragonfly, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, Miami University
“Nothing is more important to us than our children, and nothing is more important to our children than maintaining a high quality environment. If they are to have a benign and nurturing environment, much will depend on the ideas and surroundings they are exposed to today. The authors in Children and Nature discuss a fascinating and diverse range of topics related to these critical issues. Everyone with in interest in the human future could profit from reading it.”
—Paul R. Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University, author of One With Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future
“Propagating a love of nature may ultimately be the most important pathway out of the biodiversity crisis. But how do people develop a sense of awe and reverence for the natural world? Children and Nature explores this most fundamental question. Educators, naturalists, environmentalists, parents, and anyone interested in communicating and fostering a deep regard for nature will greatly benefit from the highly stimulating explorations and discourses in this book.”
—Carl Safina, Vice President for Marine Conservation, National Audubon Society, author of Eye of the Albatross and Song for the Blue Ocean