Two years ago I mentioned a book, Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, on this blog (click here to read the post). At the time I had only read a few paragraphs, but I immediately purchased the book and read it carefully. A couple of weeks ago Lou Ann and I had an opportunity to hear Richard Louv speak about his passion for reconnecting children with nature.
We also had an opportunity to have breakfast with him (just Lou Ann, her two grandchildren, and I). He mentioned several times the importance of children having time for independent play (with the emphasis on "independent"). He recommended a National Public Radio article on play and self regulation (click her to read the article).
I mention this book partly because I believe Louv has an important message that needs to be broadcast, and also because Ocracoke is the perfect place to practice what Louv preaches. There are so many places for children to explore on the island -- woods and creeks and sand dunes. And there are here...and everywhere...backyards, playgrounds, empty lots, fields, nature preserves, and patches of nature where children can play, explore, discover, and learn on their own.
I recommend Louv's book highly, as well as his foundation, the Children and Nature Network. There you will find much information for parents, grandparents, and anyone who interacts with children to help reconnect children with nature.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a transcript of a letter written in 1949 by a visitor to the island. You can read the letter (which provides a glimpse into Ocracoke life sixty years ago) here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102509.htm.