“Think what it means for children to grow up now, and how different their experience of nature and definition of life is, or soon will be, from the experiences of us adults.” (Louv, 22) Quote taken from Richard Louv's book, Last Child in the Woods
Without a doubt, the world is constantly changing and evolving, at a rate that is impossible to keep up with. As soon as we learn new, relevant information, that information because outdated. Hence the problem of creating curriculum when after the years it takes to create and finalize it, new information and knowledge is already available. However, that’s not just what this quote is focused on; rather, it’s the problem of the ever evolving technological nature of the world and the loss of interaction with the natural world that results.
Outdoor Education is something that can be seen as scary, or unsafe. Parents don’t want their kids away from home doing potentially dangerous tasks. Likewise, the school doesn’t want the liability of outdoor activities on them. This can make it hard for teachers to try and involve their students into the natural world of learning. However, it’s exactly those fears that also work as a convincing factor. If you, as a parent, are afraid to let your child stay overnight, on, for example, a camping trip with other adults for supervision and safety, as well as children they will spend their school years growing up and bonding with, how are they supposed to function on their own later in life? How are they supposed to grow up, ready to thrive in the world rather than hide away from it?
A teacher who is willing to brave the backlash of authority from the school and parents, just to give kids the chance to learn in their natural surroundings is one who is without a doubt, confident in the benefits. That alone is enough to be respectable.
I would like to also comment on the experiences I had with organizations like Girl Guides. I always find it amazing how excited and enthusiastic girls get about being able to spend a weekend outside, learning new skills and forging bonds with their friends. I think that sort of team building and experiential learning is something all age levels can benefit from, in all sorts of subject areas. Having a couple days, even just hours, away from technology and experiencing the natural world is something that doesn’t happen regularly for a lot of learners and it’s an important step for them to take before they’ve lost their connection to nature forever as an adult.
Louv, Richard. Last Child in the Woods. Algonquin Books Od Chapel Hill, 2006.