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Cultivating the Wonder of Nature in Childhood

On February 19, place-based education prof David Sobel will explore the importance of parents helping their kids make connections to nature in an evening lecture in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The talk, which is open to the public, is part of the three-day Place-Based and Rural Education Summit hosted by the Teton Science Schools.

According to Sobel, children see our natural world differently than adults. He quotes William Wordsworth who suggested that the natural world is “appareled with celestial light” in childhood. This critical period in middle childhood, David says, is when children are biologically programmed to bond with the natural world. If this bonding occurs, it sets the individual on a path of environmental values and commitment. David stresses that parents and educators should take advantage of this openness in childhood and provide frequent opportunities for children to adventurously be at-one in nature.

David’s talk will include a bit of provocative research, a dash of theory, lots of personal parenting stories, and a look at how the parent/child/nature relationship changes from early childhood to middle childhood to adolescence to early adulthood.

David will also conduct a summit workshop with ANE grad Michael Duffin, Friday, February 20, on school readiness and place-based education. Michael, co-founder of PEER Associates, received his PhD from Antioch University’s PhD in leadership and organizational change program.

The Center of Wonder co-hosts the summit. For more information visit the Jackson Campus of Teton Science School’s web site.

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