Children and Nature: Psychological, Sociocultural, and Evolutionary Investigations

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Overview

For much of human evolution, the natural world was one of the most important contexts of children's maturation. Indeed, the experience of nature was, and still may be, a critical component of human physical, emotional, intellectual, and even moral development. Yet scientific knowledge of the significance of nature during the different stages of childhood is sparse. This book provides scientific investigations and thought-provoking essays on children and nature.Children and Nature incorporates research from cognitive science, developmental psychology, ecology,education, environmental studies, evolutionary psychology, political science, primatology,psychiatry, and social psychology. The authors examine the evolutionary significance of nature during childhood; the formation of children's conceptions, values, and sympathies toward the natural world; how contact with nature affects children's physical and mental development; and the educational and political consequences of the weakened childhood experience of nature in modern society.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"This book has an astonishing number of insights per page. The authors carefully provide good reasons to believe that experiences in nature are a cornerstone for the development of healthy children, who learn to act wisely in the environment and to create healthy societies."—Chris Myers, Professor and Director of Project Dragonfly, School of InterdisciplinaryStudies, Miami University

"Nothing is more important to us than our children, and nothing is more important to our children than maintaining a high quality environment. If they are to have a benign and nurturing environment, much will depend on the ideas and surroundings they are exposed to today. The authors in "Children and Nature" discuss a fascinating and diverse range of topics related to these critical issues. Everyone with in interest in the human future could profit from reading it."—Paul R.

Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University, author of *One With Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future*

"Propagating a love of nature may ultimately be the most important pathway out of the biodiversity crisis. But how do people develop a sense of awe and reverence for the natural world? Children and Nature explores this most fundamental question. Educators, naturalists,environmentalists, parents, and anyone interested in communicating and fostering a deep regard for nature will greatly benefit from the highly stimulating explorations and discourses in this book."—Carl Safina, Vice President for Marine Conservation, National Audubon Society, author of"Eye of the Albatross" and "Song for the Blue Ocean"

"This book does a first-rate job of bringing the arguments set out in *The Limits toGrowth* up to date. But more important, it carefully lays out future trends that must be dealt with if an ecologically secure life is to be possible for our grandchildren. I recommend this book to anyone who is concerned about addressing now the critical problems that will shape the fortunes of future generations."—Paul R. Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University,author of *One With Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future*

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262611756
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 370
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter H. Kahn, Jr., is Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the HumanInteraction with Nature and Technological Systems Laboratory at the University of Washington. Kahn and Hasbach are coeditors of Ecopsychology: Science, Totems, and the TechnologicalSpecies (MIT Press, 2012).

Stephen R. Kellert is Tweedy Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology at Yale University'sSchool of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is the author of a number of books, includingBuilding for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection, and the coeditor of Children and Nature: Psychological, Sociocultural, andEvolutionary Foundations (MIT Press).

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1 The Primate Relationship with Nature: Biophilia as a General Pattern 1
2 The Ecological World of Children 29
3 The Development of Folkbiology: A Cognitive Science Perspective on Children's Understanding of the Biological World 65
4 Children's Affiliations with Nature: Structure, Development, and the Problem of Environmental Generational Amnesia 93
5 Experiencing Nature: Affective, Cognitive, and Evaluative Development in Children 117
6 Animals as Links toward Developing Caring Relationships with the Natural World 153
7 Animals in Therapeutic Education: Guides into the Liminal State 179
8 Spots of Time: Manifold Ways of Being in Nature in Childhood 199
9 Adolescents and the Natural Environment: A Time Out? 227
10 Adolescents and Ecological Identity: Attending to Wild Nature 259
11 Political Economy and the Ecology of Childhood 279
12 Eden in a Vacant Lot: Special Places, Species, and Kids in the Neighbourhood of Life 305
List of Contributors 329
Name Index 331
Subject Index 341
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