Instant messaging, music videos, social networks, video games fills the daily life of the youngest of the house, so we should not be surprised when we ask a child where the milk comes from an answer you from the supermarket. Examples like this make evident that today many children grow up in an urban environment surrounded by technology and very few opportunities to connect with nature. There are psychologists who talk about the syndrome of “nature deficit”, which manifests itself in the form of obesity, stress, learning disorders, chronic fatigue or depression.
The few times that children go to the park or the countryside, most parents worry the children not to get wet, not to get dirty, that insects or bugs do not bite them, and the result of this “nature-protective” attitude is that thousands of children do not play freely in the fields, do not climb trees, do not throw rocks at swamps, do not chase butterflies.
Children who are deprived of these experiences with nature tend to lose the ability to explore, to be creative, to develop skills for coexistence and for problem-solving. Several studies prove that children who live in the countryside get sick less frequently, have better concentration and self-discipline, better physical condition, agility, and are more observant and serene. In contrast, children who live in a purely urban environment have more allergies, are more nervous, hyperactive, insecure and get bored easily since they struggle to use their imagination and creativity. So, we should let children enjoy the little time they spend in contact with nature let them get dirty, experience with all their senses to smell, hear, touch, see, taste …, so it will be easier for them to learn beyond their schooling.
For all the above, today’s schools could soon adapt so that children are more in contact with nature, forming natural classrooms or creating small urban farms as means for interaction and where they can establish emotional links with nature and living beings to develop feelings of respect and protection for the environment.
In turn, parents may organize field trips and excursions with their children to rural sites and provide natural experiences such as catch and release fishing, bird and insect watching, etc. Parents can also arrange visits to natural science museums with their children. It is not an excuse that these visits are often organized by schools, it can be a different activity to share with the little ones and when they get back home, they can comment on what they have seen, their impressions and experiences. They can even draw pictures of what impressed them the most.
In summary, we can say that contact with nature is not a fad or rhetoric about the quality of life, studies from the Autonomous University of Madrid on environmental psychology show that it really influences the psychological and emotional well-being and the intellectual capacities, especially in youngsters. The human body is adapted to live in an urban environment, but, perhaps for biological reasons, our brain still remembers the experiences of living in nature where the human species thrived for millions of years.