Dr. Scott Sampson, president and CEO of Science World, on the benefits of keeping kids connected to nature as they head back to the classroom.
Can anyone think of a worse environment for children than a row of desks in a cinder-block building under fluorescent lights?
“It’s like kids live under house arrest, because we just don’t let them go outside much,” said Dr. Scott Sampson, president and CEO of Science World. “It’s like a huge experiment we’ve run on our kids over the past generation and it’s led to a massive increase in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
And rather than fixing that problem by getting kids outside, we are giving them prescription drugs, he said. Some doctors have taken to writing “park prescriptions” for youngsters with ADHD and “it reduces symptoms tremendously.”
As school resumes, Sampson has a few ideas that will benefit kids physically, emotionally and intellectually.
“The minute children step outside their heart rates slow, blood pressure drops, relaxation kicks in and it alleviates many of the symptoms of the ADHD,” he said. “Children outside tend to be more imaginative, they play longer in a natural environment versus a metal and plastic playground, let alone an indoor structure.”
Kids outdoors bully less and are more collaborative and creative, said Sampson, who argues that nearly every subject — from art to math — can be pursued “profitably” outdoors at least part of the time.
The Children & Nature Network curates relevant research as well as offering strategies for parents, educators and community leaders to leverage the restorative power of nature.