Richard Louv

Recipient of the Audubon Medal

Author of the National Bestseller Last Child in the Woods

From the Blog

The Nature Principle in Education: an Antidote to Teacher Burnout

“Connected and honored, natural teachers could inspire other teachers; they could become a galvanizingforce within their schools. In the process, they would contribute to their own psychological, physical, and spiritual health.”— The Nature Principle

Not long ago, I was speaking with a middle school principal in Austin who was sympathetic to the cause, but felt overwhelmed by all the demands that he and his colleagues already face. “Look, you want me to add this to my plate when it’s already overflowing?” he said. “I can’t do this without outside help.”

He was right. Bringing the classroom to nature and nature to the classroom is an enormous task, and educators need community and political support. Schools, businesses and outdoor organizations can work together to introduce students to nature centers and parks, and sponsor or promote overnight camping trips. Parent-teacher groups can raise financial support for field trips and nature programs; they can sponsor family nature nights at schools; they can give awards to those teachers who, year after year, get their students outside.

No doubt about it, schools need community support. But educators can lead the way, and one teacher can make a difference — especially if he or she reaches out to another.

Both THE NATURE PRINCIPLE and LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS offer chapters on education. And in the video above, I share some thoughts about education with filmmaker Camilla Rockwell. But here are a few additional resources to get started (and keep going):

Check out C&NN’s synthesis of some of the best research on how nature time stimulates learning and helps educators, assembled by Cheryl Charles, Ph.D, and Alicia Senauer of Yale University. The C&NN site is also packed with positive examples of what schools are doing around the U.S. and Canada and in other countries as well. Another resource is C&NN’s recommended reading list, which describes a number of books on place-based and nature-based learning by such authors as David Sobel, Louise Chawla, Robin Moore, Joseph Cornell, Jon Young, Ken Finch and others.

Through C&NN, you can also become a Natural Teacher. Many educators, especially new teachers, feel inadequately trained to give their students an outdoors experience.  But by networking, teachers can share ideas, support each other, and know they’re not alone.

You can learn more about C&NN’s Natural Teacher Network. And please see C&NN’s latest Natural Teachers Newsletter, edited by Tamra Willis and Herb Broda.

While we’re on this topic of teachers organizing teachers, here’s another notion: Why not start a nature club for teachers? That’s a suggestion from Robert Bateman, the famous Canadian wildlife artist who launched his Get-to-Know campaign in Canada and the U.S. to connect kids to nature. Through such clubs, Bateman says, teachers who are experienced in nature could organize half-day hikes each month with other teachers.

C&NN isn’t the only resource for natural teachers. Other organizations that offer excellent resources for schools that want to get their students outside include the National Audubon Society and National Wildlife Refuges, which provide professional development programs that have been correlated to public school curriculum standards. To green your schoolyard, tap the knowledge of such programs as Evergreen in Canada, and National Wildlife Federation’s Schoolyard Habitats and the Natural Learning Initiative, and check out the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide.

Don’t forget the school library. For ideas on how to naturalize your school library and how library systems can become information hubs on life in the surrounding bioregion, click here.

These are just a few examples of the resources available for educators who want to connect their students to nature. Here’s an added incentive. Want to avoid teacher burnout? Canadian researchers report that teachers who get their students – and themselves – outdoors can reignite their own energy and enthusiasm for teaching.

Every teacher can become a natural teacher.

____________________

Richard Louv is founding chairman of the Children and Nature Network. His newest book is THE NATURE PRINCIPLE: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder. He is also the author of LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS, which includes a Field Guide of 100 Actions for families, teachers, and communities.

On Education: A video clip from Camille Rockwell’s “Mother Nature’s Child”

Next post: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: Time for a National Conference on Children (and Adults), Nature and the Law

Prev post: Ten Reasons Why Children and Adults Need Vitamin N

Comments

“On that early morning of fishing; as the sun bloomed wide on the horizon and the water lay still, I finally understood. It was not the excitement of setting the hook and reeling in a well sized trout. I pushed my competitive spirit aside and enveloped myself in the experience of sharing a moment with my youngest son. We stood side by side fishing in quiet, then cheered one another on as a catch was pulled to shore. It mattered not who caught the fish; what mattered most was that we fished together; in the early morning, as the sun bloomed wide on the horizon.”

The idea of bringing the students outside the school is good. But what about their safety and security? Is going to be guaranteed? But this works to me though. Some things can’t be learned inside the school. Students must be exposed to the other world of learning too.

Thank you so much for sharing these. There are a lot of good resources here. I am sure I will visit this place again soon.

I think the teacher will not compromise the security of the students. Aside from that, he can let the parents of the students sign a note that they permit their son or daughter to join the activity. Engaging nature in school lectures is a good idea. This brings something new to the students and the teacher as well.
Regards,
Rafael Santiago
Millionaire Mind Intensive Malaysia
Environmental Lawyer

I am impressed by the quality of information on this website. There are a lot of good resources here. I am sure I will visit this place again soon. list blog

The nature principle is right. I like every thought shared in this article. Bringing the classroom to nature and nature to the classroom is an enormous task, and educators need community and political support. Like this lot of important resources available in this post. Thanks for great allocation smile

excellent post provide complete information for every

Being a teacher is not a profession, it’s a vocation.

Utilizing nature in lectures is an excellent way to young people as long as the school isn’t liable for the children being injured. They should definitely confer with a personal injury lawyer tampa before undertaking this worthwhile endeavor.

I always like your blog because you always comes with different ideas and information. I always shared your site post with my friends. Keep posting and i will follow you..

Congratulations and I salute you for being so fantastic. The Nature Principle in Education is rally nice concept. Engaging nature in school lectures is a great notion. I actually believe that it brings something for both students and teachers. Thanks!

I’ve been following Richard Louv’s publications and I really like the way he express his thoughts.

I’m very interested in this article

I totally agree with this “nature principle in education”. I’m sure if parents and teachers can get together and brainstorm ideas to implement this, they can come up with lots of ideas for field trips or projects that can really benefit the children. Even the teachers and parents can have fun too!

It’s been really great going through your blog post, very well informed and described. Great to read and know more about such kind of stuff.

There’s nothing like being with nature.  We live in a natural world.  Children can really benefit from this project but it’s true that this is a hard endeavor to implement.  It needs the cooperation of everybody, from the schools, businessmen, parents and the whole community.

This is good site to spent time on. I just stumbled upon your informative blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your very well written blog posts. I will be your frequent visitor, that’s for sure.

It is true that children today spend a lot less time in nature than we used to when we were their age. There are a lot more indoor attractions for them today, television, computers and game consoles. Introducing nature’s principles in education is also hard because there are a lot of rn to bsn online programs that don’t even require people to get out of their homes. But I agree, schools should have a lot more educational field trips and outdoor activities because they are healthier and offer the students the opportunity to reunite with nature, to rediscover it.

Parent-teacher groups can raise financial support for field trips and nature programs; they can sponsor family nature nights at schools; they can give awards to those teachers who, year after year, get their students outside.

Some things can’t be learned inside the school. Students must be exposed to the other world of learning too. I’m sure if parents and teachers can get together and brainstorm ideas to implement this, they can come up with lots of ideas for field trips or projects that can really benefit the children.

I also agree that nature plays enormous rolein children’s upbringing. Bringing kids to the nature is a must-to-do. This is how we can teach young generations to love the nature and care for it.

As to all other questions that arise like how to do this, who’s going to sponsor the trips etc, I think they must be solved as soon as possible, and this is the task for the schools.

We really need to bring back the nature in school. Most kids don’t know anything about nature but the fact is, we human are inseparable from nature. I think eventually we will realize that we may have gone a bit to far in forgetting mother nature.

There have been many discussions and debates all over regarding the fact that classroom and nature should be brought together. I agree with your title, it is definitely an antidote to teacher burnout. Waiting to read more from you on this topic.

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