Below is a summary of points presented by Cheryl Charles, Nature Deficit Disorder Special Edition Contributor (Education.com). Charles advocates the reconnection of our children to nature and outlines the benefits of nature on children.
Kids today have limited direct experience with the outdoors. The defining experience of many of today's youth and children is indoors at home or at school. According to Charles, children are being given a "virtual, vicarious, electronic and cocooned childhood."
According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (2005, 2006), kids spend as much as 60 hours a week involved in electronic media. Now that is a lot of childhood spent on electronic media. So why is this happening? Well, a 2004 study found that 82% of mothers with children between the ages of 3 and 12 cited crime and safety concerns as one of the primary reasons they do not allow their children to play outdoors.
Research indicated that one of the best antidotes to a stressful lifestyle is to spend time in natural settings outdoors. Children who spend time outdoors are more likely to be happier, healthier, smarter, more cooperative, better problem solvers and more creative.
There is also evidence to suggest negative outcomes associated with children disconnected from nature. These include diminished health, obesity, reduced cognitive, creative, and problem solving capacities, lower school achievement, lower self esteem, less self discipline and ADHD (Attention-deficit hyperactive disorder).
Natural environments nurture the qualities that children require to become healthy, happy and successful people.
There are also mental health benefits to being outside. A substantial body of work indicated that going outside reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and attention-deficit disorders. Results are dramatic for people of all ages.
Redwood Country Day Camp holds a pro-nature philosophy at the helm of it's ethos. We want our campers to reap the many benefits of outside play, while learning to respect the world and to become stuarts of our environment. While improving as individuals, they will learn to take care of our living systems and make informed, decisions in the future that will lead to responsible action.
All children deserve to commune with nature.
Reconnect Children to Nature
Research from Germany suggests that Redwood Country Day Camp's emphasis on art is good for our brains.
Cognitive research out of Germany suggests that the production of visual art helps to improve interaction within the brain. The study was conducted on a small population of newly retired individuals, and suggests that the creation of visual art can actually negate age-related decline of brain function. Doing art can clean up your brain.
At Redwood, we believe in letting all of our campers express themselves, and hope to help them reach their full potential. Self expression and creation are important for healthy self-esteem, which is why it is incorporated into regular programming. Here campers take part in dance, beading, pottery and general arts on a regular basis. Redwood's goal is to introduce our campers to many artistic mediums, in hopes of igniting passions and nurturing existing skills.
To find out more about art benefit research, visit the link below.
Making Art is good for your Brain
One chapter ends, another begins
Below is the front page article of the 2014 edition of the Redwood Adventure, week 8.
Every summer is a chance to take a step out of the hard pace of life, take everything you’ve learned so far and just roll with it. When it ends, we’ve spent so much time taking it in that we don’t realize how much we’ve learned.
That’s why we shouldn’t be sad that camp is ending. Sure, we’re all going to miss our friends and the fun we’ve had at Redwood. But, it’s important to remember that during our time here we grow as individuals. We become stronger, more confident and more self assured - defended by the knowledge that there will always be a place where we are accepted and our ideas are taken seriously.
Plus, they’ll always be time for another game of Gagaball.
So, as camp closes, we need to take everything we’ve been given and put it into our non-summer lives. We need to live life the way we live at Redwood, by having as much fun as possible while remembering respect, openness, community and kindness.
From personal experience I know a lot of you are natural funsters. You’re always capable of putting a smile on my face. Keep up the energy and spread it to anyone who wasn’t lucky enough to have an experience as awesome as you did.
And remember, you are not leaving Redwood, a little bit of Redwood is leaving with you.
- James McCafferty, Camp Editor of the Redwood Adventure Newspaper