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could Rewilding be at the root of education and wellness?

Updated: Apr 9, 2022

This month, as a continuation of our “doing a world of good” series, front porch presents "Take a walk on the wild side: Education doing good for the children and the earth"

In recognition of back-to-school season, our focus this month at front porch is on education

True, this word is rife with connotations, some more positive and others less so. However, most can agree that in our society, an education of some sort must be had in order to take care of ourselves and those around us. Despite what mainstream media would like us to think, good things really do happen all around us, every day. Take, for instance, this story about a UK-based organization that proposes a different take on the way we educate our children and, thus, ourselves: Rewilding.

An education based on rewilding encourages just what its name implies, a return to the rhythms of the wild. Rewilding fosters a child’s connection to the earth in such a way that the child not only learns what a river is, but also how it’s perceived through their senses, how to care for the river, and what rivers mean to the surrounding landscape. A rewilding education is one that is self-directed through curiosity, with the foundation of reconnection to the natural world around us in hopes of turning the tide of the detachment from the earth itself over the past several decades. The rewilded child—or person, for that matter—may be more likely to thrive, as evidenced in this study about literal connection to the earth. Psychological and physical benefits abound when we spend time in nature, with some research indicating that even virtual nature has its benefits, particularly for those who are ill or otherwise not able to spend time out of doors.

While the Rewilding Education organizers allow that they cannot really know the outcome or the impact of a generation of children educated through a rewilding process, their idea is that through the development of deeper, more tangible connections to the earth, the rewilded individual is less likely to be destructive to it. What if, as the organizers pose, our education system went through a process of rewilding? We can, of course, choose to follow our innate sense of curiosity and find out—and perhaps capture some peace of self as well.

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