Nurturing a Love for Our World; Raising Children who Care

 

Feeling a part of the natural world and nurturing an affinity towards life on the planet can help ensure our children’s environmental consciousness grows as they do. Anna Bennett, the Mum behind eco friendly family store Small Eco Steps, shares her ethos on raising planet-loving children:  home learning bugs yellow door education

1.Look, Listen, Share

Enthusiasm is contagious; we can bring magic to the mundane when we share our wonder at the natural world with our children. Spotting a squirrel through the kitchen window, the sounds of birds singing in the morning or the first snowdrop is An Event to embrace.

Wherever you are, find moments to look, to listen and to bring nature into focus

2.Bring it Outdoors

 

Outdoor learning has been shown to increase confidence, movement and concentration*, and there is a wide range of learning resources available that are ideal for bringing literacy and numeracy outdoors, or to engage your child with the world around them

Find ways to incorporate the outdoors into your child’s preferred games – taking dolls or teddies for a picnic turns a walk (or even time in the garden) into an adventure.

woodland forest school playing outdoors

3.Find your Tribe

Finding other parents with similar values can be hugely valuable; whether that’s local “Outdoor Mum” groups that arrange regular meets or online groups where parents can support one another and share ideas. Small Eco Steps’ Facebook group “Small Eco Families” is full of parents showing upcycling/craft efforts, chatting about days out or outdoor activities and sharing the highs and lows of their parenting journeys.

4.Promote Positive Change

We are growing more aware of the unethical business practices, poor treatment of workers and disregard for the environment so prevalent in many industries. Stores such as Small Eco Steps have made it easier to make good buying choices; highlighting what makes organic clothing so good for the planet and for workers, or why sustainably sourced wooden toys that have long lives allows us to teach children about these important issues without laying the problems of the world on their tiny shoulders.  outdoor child eco friendly steps

5.Listen to your child

As your child grows, their thoughts and values will evolve and change. They may align with yours, they may diverge, or they may change like the wind as the child encounters new people and experiences. Parents reacting negatively to their child expressing opposing opinions or ideas can damage self esteem, cause views to become more entrenched or prevent the child from speaking up again. Instead, listen to your child’s reasoning and seek out common ground to model respect for others’ views and show your child they are valued as the people they are.

 

We'd love to hear your top tips - share them in the comments below! 

 

*Liz O’Brien (2009) Learning outdoors: the Forest School Approach, Education 3-23, 37:1, 45-60 

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