Naturally Inclusive: Engaging Children of All Abilities Outdoors


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192 pages. For educators of learners 3-8 years old. Published in 2022. Recommended by our Accessibility and Inclusion Consultant, Karen Lai.

Young children with special needs often face physical, emotional, or social barriers to deep engagement with the natural world. These challenges need not prevent them from enjoying the many benefits nature has to offer.

Nature is a necessity. Research tells us that we are happier, healthier, more socially engaged, and more creative when it is part of our daily lives. These benefits apply to people of all ages and abilities.

In this inspiring book, Dr. Ruth Wilson explores the great potential of connecting young children with special needs to the natural world. Drawing on her knowledge of research and her decades of work with children in nature, she weaves together advice, real-life examples, and testimonies from educators and families on the healing, nurturing power of nature in the lives of young children with diverse abilities.

In addition to exploring the role of nature in our lives, chapters include information on:

  • Nature as a teacher and play partner
  • Nature for holistic development
  • Nature as a healer
  • The importance of risk-taking
  • Horticultural therapies
  • Animal-assisted therapies
  • Nurturing connections between children and animals, plants, and habitats

Naturally Inclusive is an essential guide for creating inclusive nature-based play spaces and programs that connect every child to nature. It reminds us that nature is both an exemplar of diversity and a catalyst for inclusion.

Author, Dr. Ruth Wilson, works as an educational consultant and curriculum writer with special expertise in the area of early childhood environmental education and other initiatives in connecting young children with nature. Dr. Wilson recently worked with the Brookfield Zoo in developing their NatureStart professional development program and served as a curriculum writer for California’s Education and Environment Initiative. Dr. Wilson also worked with Sesame Street in designing nature education programs and served as an evaluator with the nature preschool at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee.  Dr. Wilson’s career includes working as a classroom teacher in both regular and special education settings and as a teacher educator for over ten years at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She works with Children & Nature Network as curator of their Research Library.


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ISBN: 978-0-87659-922-8

192 Pages


Additional information

Weight 0.75 kg
Dimensions 27.5 × 21.5 × 2 cm


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