In 2005 Richard Louv’s, Last Child in the Woods, highlighted a growing issue in America that he called, “Nature –Deficit disorder”. His book began a national dialogue among educators, health professionals, parents, developers and conservationists. From this movement the Ohio Leave No Child Inside Collaborative was formed, and the Miami Valley Chapter is hard at work developing resources to have a positive impact on your child.
There are many benefits for children to spend time outside. Spending active time outdoors reduces the chance for childhood obesity, it helps children develop critical thinking and problem solving skills and also helps them understand risk management. Kids who spend time in nature are more likely to become adults who value nature and contribute to its protection, and will be part of the solution to the many challenges our earth is currently facing.
Getting dirty and connecting physically with nature is important to kids because the bacteria, viruses and microbes found in the dirt help them develop healthy and strong digestive and immune systems. As a Creative World of Montessori parent you can feel good knowing that your child connects in an intimate way with nature during weekly garden classes and scheduled field trips. In contrast to public schools, our upper elementary students and middle schoolers spend a minimum of 45 minutes outside daily. Lower elementary and primary students spend 1 hour a day outdoors. In many local public schools, middle school students do not have recess or time scheduled outdoors at all during the day, and elementary students are limited to one, 30 min recess.
In 2010, Governor Ted Strickland signed the Ohio Children’s Bill of Rights. The Bill recognizes that every child in Ohio shall have the opportunity to:
- Be physically active and play outside every day to grow up healthy
- Have access to safe, natural green spaces in their community
- Connect with nature, with free time to explore the outdoors
- Discover the wonder of plants and animals, large and small, using all five senses
- Explore the diversity of Ohio’s natural habitats
- Understand the patterns and cycles in nature
- Experience the joys of splashing, playing and swimming in safe, clean lakes and streams
- Be fully immersed in nature by camping overnight
- Learn how to give back to nature
You can find a complete copy of the Ohio Children’s Bill of Rights here:
There are many resources in the Miami Valley to help your family connect to nature, here are a few:
Five Rivers MetroParks: www.metroparks.org
Miami County Park District: https://www.miamicountyparks.com/
Dayton Conservation Kids: https://www.facebook.com/groups/489302884459458/about/
Centerville-Washington Park District: http://www.cwpd.org/
Darke County Parks: http://www.darkecountyparks.org/
Leave No Child Inside- Miami Valley Collaborative: https://ohiolnci.org/ohio-regions/miami-valleydayton/