Na­ture is the best class­room

Gardeners' World - - We Love October -

GW’s Rachel de Thame has is­sued a ral­ly­ing cry to con­nect chil­dren with na­ture af­ter fa­mil­iar names like but­ter­cup and cowslip were cut from the new­est edi­tion of the Ox­ford Ju­nior Dic­tionary. Rachel, vi­cepres­i­dent of Plantlife, spoke in sup­port of the char­ity’s For­get-me-not cam­paign: “I be­lieve that con­nect­ing with na­ture is vi­tal to the well­be­ing of all chil­dren.” In an ex­clu­sive interview with the mag­a­zine she told us: “Stud­ies bear this out, but my feel­ings stem largely from ob­serv­ing how my own chil­dren, and now grand­chil­dren, re­spond to the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. The sim­plest fam­ily ac­tiv­ity, whether it be strolling through wood­land, mak­ing daisy chains, or ex­plor­ing a river­bank, can be­come an ad­ven­ture. In th­ese set­tings chil­dren trans­form, from tantrum-prone tod­dler to bud­ding en­to­mol­o­gist, and from stroppy, dis­en­gaged teenager to rosy-cheeked col­lec­tor of conkers. “Na­ture pro­vides the best class­room and of­fers ex­pe­ri­ences that stay with us for life – help­ing to in­stil a love of na­ture, and in turn en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren to be­come fu­ture cus­to­di­ans of the nat­u­ral world. “For us to con­nect with na­ture, we need the words that de­scribe its di­ver­sity. It’s my view that re­mov­ing many of th­ese words from the OJD does a dis­ser­vice to all our chil­dren. But most wor­ry­ingly, it dis­tances those that have few op­por­tu­ni­ties to spend time in nat­u­ral sur­round­ings from the won­ders of the real world, while the vir­tual uni­verse be­comes in­creas­ingly ac­ces­si­ble. Those from de­prived in­ner city ar­eas de­serve ac­cess to an equally rich vo­cab­u­lary via their dic­tionary.” Do you agree with Rachel? Write in and tell us your views...

Rachel val­ues the vo­cab­u­lary of the nat­u­ral world

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