Mother Nature’s Child explores nature’s powerful role in children’s health and development through the experience of toddlers, children in middle childhood and adolescents. The film marks a moment in time when a living generation can still recall childhoods of free play outdoors; this will not be true for most children growing up today. The effects of “nature deficit disorder” are now being noted across the country in epidemics of child obesity, attention disorders, and depression.
Mother Nature’s Child asks the questions: Why do children need unstructured time outside? What is the place of risk-taking in healthy child development? How is play a form of learning? Why are teachers resistant to taking students outside? How can city kids connect with nature? What does it mean to educate the ‘whole’ child?
We filmed children from the wilds of Vermont to Washington, D.C. and sought the voices of many adult experts. Interviews include: Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods; Brother Yusuf Burgess who works with inner city teens in Albany, NY; David Sobel, author of Children’s Special Places and Childhood and Nature and leader in the field of place-based education; Yale professor Stephen Kellert, PhD.; Nancy Bell, director of The Conservation Fund in VT/NH; Misha Golfman, Director of Kroka Expeditions in Marlow, NH; Vermont teacher Rob Hanson, who regularly incorporates outdoor nature connection in his sixth grade public school curriculum; Jon Young, California tracker and author of Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, Pearline Tyson of the Parks & People Foundation and the founders of the Holistic Life Foundation in Baltimore, MD; and Amy Beam, founder of Beyond the Walls in Washington, DC.
The film runs 57 minutes.