Academic journal article Science Scope

Vitamin N

Academic journal article Science Scope

Vitamin N

Article excerpt

Vitamin N By Richard Louv. $15.95. 277 pp. Algonquin. Chapel Hill, NC. 2016. ISBN: 9781616205782.

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In 2005, The New York Times bestseller Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv, introduced the term "nature-deficit disorder" to the education community. In Vitamin N, Louv has provided a thoughtful and practical guide to establishing and ensuring a successful relationship between children and the outdoors.

Both parents and teachers will find this new guidebook invaluable. Louv describes hundreds of tips adults can employ to share information about nature with their children. He advocates passionately for independent, free play outdoors. He recognizes parents' fears about such dangers as Lyme disease, and he advises parents and teachers about simple and effective preventive measures.

Louv is hardly anti-technology, as he praises the many educational possibilities of computers and wireless communication in children's lives. However, he cautions against teachers or families substituting virtual experiences for actual outdoor learning. He argues passionately that frequent, often unstructured experiences in nature provide unique and important mental and physical health benefits. While he advocates for free play, Louv also suggests school and neighborhood nature clubs and structuring career education around outdoor themes. For example, a student interested in architecture could learn from a "biophilic" professional in the field. …

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