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Young children, the outdoors and nature
Young children, the outdoors and nature

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2.1 Learning to take care of nature

There is an argument therefore that those who care for young children should extend their focus beyond the needs of the child and their well-being to those of the natural world. In particular, a consideration should be given to how children’s earliest experiences of nature could support a lifelong ethic of care towards the natural environment. Writing about the development of pro-environment attitudes, environmental educator David Sobel argues that childhood experiences ‘… provide the essential glue, the deep motivational attitude and commitment’ (Sobel, 2008, p. 12).

Care as a concept is fundamental to early childhood, particularly in relation to babies and toddlers, and can equally be applied to the home as to the setting. However, it tends to be understood in terms of human relationships yet it is also a concept that can be equally applied to the natural world.