Nature and Learning

A Depth Perspective

Edited by:
John P. Miller, University of Toronto
Kelli Nigh, The Living Institute

A volume in the series: Current Perspectives in Holistic Education. Editor(s): John P. Miller, University of Toronto. Kelli Nigh, The Living Institute.

As a child, the winding river across the road from our converted turn of the century schoolhouse, became the flow of my thoughts; the apple blossoms the sweetness of life. When I was a pre-teen, a small forest near my home became a temple, a solace for the rising turbulent emotions and strange stirrings in my body. Richard Louv provides a compelling argument in The Last Child in the Woods, the gist of which states that children are now growing up with nature deficit disorder. Along a similar vein, Ava Selhub and Alan Logan in Your Brain on Nature review studies that support the need to establish a regenerative relationship with nature, its powerful effect on the brain is cognitive refreshment. Implicitly the studies show that cognition cannot replenish our thought processes and that nature offers linear thought, significant rest.

People have been seeking the regenerative qualities of nature for centuries and certainly if one were to review the writings of William James, indirect thought was thoroughly explored. Except now, more than ever nature is considered a force that is optional, even its magnificence and beauty exist for human pleasure and consumption. Is it simply that we are forgetting how to connect with nature with a level of humility that situates us within the web of beings? Consumer and goal driven approaches to living do not make space for the unpredictability, the beauty, the chaos and living array that nature offers. I believe that there is a new relationship to nature needed at this time and it relies on two things, a gentleness of mind and body and a belief that our collective evolution is more important than a competitive, individualistic society.

1. Introduction, 2. Attunement with Nature, 3. Depth Learning, 4. Gentling the Mind and Body, 5. Phenomenological Inquiry, 6. Gentling the Mind and Body in Nature, 7. Reflections on Nature, 8. A Meditation on Nature, Learning and Development, 9. Holistic Education, Nature and A Depth Perspective

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