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WHEN VIEWING ON A MOBILE DEVICE -- DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM Why Are Children So Interested In Animals, Anyway?  this need and are trying to embrace this philosophy in their centers by offer- ing natural materials in the classroom (such as plants and planted flowers), creating nature-​based play areas, and providing plenty of outdoor time for children. The biophilia hypothesis supports the idea that chil- dren can thrive when allowed extended periods of time in nat- ural settings. In Building for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-​Nature Connection, Stephen R. Kellert observes that a number of studies have shown that children’s academic growth, behavior, and stress levels improved when they interacted with their living environment. Children’s cooperation with others, creativity, and physical health also increased. When an educa- tor recognizes biophilia by including other forms of life in her model of child development, one might say she is following a biocentric approach. But having a biocentric approach to child development means more than just providing children with spaces to run and play in nature. It can also include opportunities for children to con- nect with living animals. Animals offer a unique window into another world. Children’s relationships with animals are special, COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 7