Feature Article - March 2009
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The Nature Connection

Outdoor Programming Takes Off

By Stacy St. Clair

Nature Programming Matters

In tough economic times, it can be difficult to convince bean counters to try new programs. And unfortunately for nature programs, they often fall victim to budget cuts because there simply isn't enough awareness about their value to the community or their mass appeal. Here are some critical reasons why nature programs play an important role in any community:

  • Stimulate all aspects and stages of child development.
  • Offer multi-sensory experiences.
  • Stimulate informal play, experiential learning and natural learning cycles.
  • Stimulate imagination and creativity in a special, boundless way.
  • Integrate children by age, ability, ethnic background.
  • Help children feel good about themselves. Enhance self-esteem.
  • Offer children a feeling of "intense peace."
  • Center children in the environment where they live.
  • Help children understand realities of natural systems.
  • Demonstrate the principle of cycles and processes.
  • Teach that nature is regenerative.
  • Support interdisciplinary, environmental education curricula.
  • Provide flexible and forgiving settings.
  • Aesthetically appealing to all people.