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Books

 

BOOKS BY DAVID SOBEL

While Amazon carries these titles, please consider supporting your local bookstore when making a purchase. Also consider supporting Alran Books in Harrisville, which carries David Sobel’s library.
 

 
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Wild Play

When David Sobel’s children, Tara and Eli, were toddlers, he set out to integrate a wide range of nature experiences into their family life, play, and storytelling. Blending his passion as a parent with his professional expertise, he created adventures tailored to their developmental stages: cultivating empathy with animals in early childhood, exploring the woods in middle childhood, and devising rites of passage in adolescence. Wild Play is Sobel’s vivid and moving memoir of their journey and an inspiring guide for all parents who seek to help their children bond with the natural world. Through this family’s experiences, we observe how free play in nature hones a sense of wonder, provides healthy challenges, and nurtures earth stewardship. “Parents need to support kids’ access to independent outdoor play,” says Sobel. “Of course they should use judgment, but the benefits outweigh the risks.” Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods identified the urgent problem of “nature deficit” in today’s children, sounding the alarm for parents, educators, and policy- makers. Wild Play is a hopeful response, offering families myriad ways to blaze their own trails.

 
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A Forest Days Handbook: Program Design for School Days Outside

Written by Eliza Minnucci with Meghan Teachout The Forest Days Handbook answers the frequently asked questions about choosing an outdoor classroom space, developing routines, building light infrastructure, and offers narrative examples of what a kindergarten Forest Day might look like. Accompanied by photos of students on their Forest Day, and with a foreword by David Sobel, this book gives a passionate teacher the confidence to step beyond the schoolyard.

 
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Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens

Environmental education expert David Sobel joins with a variety of colleagues to share their experiences and steps for creating a successful forest kindergarten program. Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens walks you through the European roots of the concept to the recent resurgence of these kinds of programs in North America. Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens provides the mentorship and guidance to become a leader in nature-based education.

 
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Childhood and Nature

In Childhood and Nature, noted educator David Sobel makes the case that meaningful connections with the natural world don't begin in the rainforest or arctic, but in our own backyards and communities. Based on his observations of recurrent play themes around the world, Sobel articulates seven design principles that can guide teachers in structuring learning experiences for children. Place-based education projects that make effective use of the principles are detailed throughout the book. The pressures of test preparation, standards, and curriculum frameworks often reduce the study of nature and the environment to a set of facts and general concepts. However, as Childhood and Nature demonstrates, linking curriculum with an engagement in the real world not only provides students with the thinking skills needed for whatever test comes their way, but also helps them grow into responsible citizens and stewards of the earth.

 
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Place-based Education

Through academic research, practical examples, and step-by-step strategies drawn from classrooms throughout the United States, Sobel celebrates teachers who emphasize the connection of school, community, and environment. Place-Based Education uses the local community and environment as the starting place for curriculum learning, strengthening community bonds, appreciation for the natural world, and a commitment to citizen engagement. 

 
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Mapmaking with Children

The current crisis in geography education has spawned several new books on mapmaking, many of which advocate either recitation and drill or a conceptual top-down model that ignores children's interests. Mapmaking with Children presents an inspired alternative. Maintaining that there is no substitute for hands-on experience, David Sobel places the initial emphasis on local projects--projects that begin in students' own backyards and communities, projects that provide a sense of place.

 
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Beyond Ecophobia

Beyond Ecophobia speaks to teachers, parents, and others interested in nurturing in children the ability to understand and care deeply for nature from an early age. This expanded version of one of Orion's most popular articles includes descriptions of developmentally appropriate environmental education activities and a list of related children's books.

“What’s important is that children have an opportunity to bond with the natural world, to learn to love it, before being asked to heal its wounds.”
 
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Children’s Special Places

From the ages of five to twelve, the middle years of childhood, young people explore their surroundings and find or construct private spaces. In these secret places, children develop and control environments of their own and enjoy freedom from the rules of the adult world. Children's Special Places enters these hidden worlds, reveals their importance to children's development and emotional health, and shows educators, parents, and other adults how they can foster a bond between young people and nature that is important to maturation.

 
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Place- and Community-Based Education in Schools

Place- and community-based education – an approach to teaching and learning that starts with the local – addresses two critical gaps in the experience of many children now growing up in the United States: contact with the natural world and contact with community. It offers a way to extend young people’s attention beyond the classroom to the world as it actually is, and to engage them in the process of devising solutions to the social and environmental problems they will confront as adults. This approach can increase students’ engagement with learning and enhance their academic achievement. Envisioned as a primer and guide for educators and members of the public interested in incorporating the local into schools in their own communities, this book explains the purpose and nature of place- and community-based education and provides multiple examples of its practice.