Get Adobe Flash player
Double Tap TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Chapter 1 Why Garden? It is said that every snowflake is different—no two ever the same. This could be true of everything in nature. Every leaf is different, every pinecone, every flower. You don’t believe this? Go outside, and take a child with you. Try to find two leaves that are identical. There is more to be learned outside than there ever was in a classroom, and children long to be outdoors. Children are drawn to nature. They pick the tiny flowers growing in the grass, unearth the pill bug from underneath the rock, and capture the tiny toad hiding near the sand box. Children notice what has become old to adults. To children, the natural world is still a source of awe. Children Need Nature Unfortunately, children are spending less time outdoors than ever before, not only in the United States but all over the world. Changes in the past few decades have impacted how children play in ways we never could have imag- ined fifty years ago. Many of us grew up outdoors, whether we were playing in small towns, on city streets, or on farms. We ran, explored, made up games, chased lightning bugs, and dug in ditches. Ask any group of adults over age forty about their childhood memories, and you will hear fond stories of time spent outdoors. Sadly, this has changed. Richard Louv, in his book Last Child in the Woods, called attention to the significant changes that have occurred over the past decades in children’s experiences with nature. Louv coined the term nature-deficit disorder to refer to “the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional ill- nesses” (2005, 34). A number of factors have influenced children’s withdrawal from nature, but a few stand out: increased interaction with technology, the disappearance of natural areas, and adults’ fears about letting children roam free or interact with nature. 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL