Children; play with nature not screens – Project Wild Thing

Thanks to Harry Eyres’s article in yesterday’s FT, I’ve discovered an admirable campaign by a guy, David Bond, with the balls to actually do something for kids who have become no more than telly-tubbies or couch potatoes and suffer as a consequence. I can’t wait for the movie (Oct.) but here you can view the trailer. It’s fun, seriously! Bond says he was motivated to make this movie because,

His kids’ waking hours are dominated by a cacophony of marketing, and a screen dependence threatening to turn them into glassy-eyed zombies. Like city kids everywhere, they spend way too much time indoors – not like it was back in his day.

The work of Project Wild Thing, which is a multi agency network, is to enable children to reconnect with nature and counter what American Richard Louv calls “nature deficit syndrome.”  The National Trust in Britain is one of those agencies and they commissioned a report, Natural Childhood, which analyses children’s alienation from nature. The report claims half of children in the U.K. can’t distinguish between a bee and a wasp, one third can’t identify a magpie, 35,000 kids are on anti-depressants and 30% are obese. The report shows that kids who are alienated from nature do suffer mentally and physically.

Do we realise how divorced children have become from nature? Consider Jamie Oliver, the chef, during his campaign to introduce healthy school dinners, discovered many kids had never eaten with a knife and fork, let alone seen a potato in its natural habitat. We are now at the stage where chefs don’t have to wash or even chop food, it comes to them ready to cook.

This is why introducing gardening to education is healthy. Children see first hand the cycle of life and death, that seedlings have to be gently nurtured and fed, it connects them with the earth, they develop immunity from the dirt. And as for the sense of achievement this gives as well as having healthier food. On gardening visit Growing Schools.

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