The average North American child currently spends about seven hours a day staring at screens, and mere minutes engaged in unstructured play outdoors, a dramatic transformation within the past generation. Yet recent research indicates that experiences in nature are essential for healthy growth. Regular exposure to nature can help relieve stress, depression, and attention deficits. It can reduce bullying, combat obesity, and boost academic scores. Most critical of all, abundant time in natural settings seems to yield long-term benefits in kids’ cognitive, emotional, and social development.

To date, no book has offered teachers, parents, and other caregivers the necessary tools to engender a meaningful, lasting connection between children and the natural world. How to Raise a Wild Child is intended as a timely and engaging antidote, showing how kids’ connection to nature changes as they mature, and empowering grown-ups to be strong mentors.

Distilling the latest research in multiple disciplines, How to Raise a Wild Child reveals how adults can help kids fall in love with nature—enlisting technology as an ally, taking advantage of urban nature, and instilling a deep sense of place along the way.

Chapter 5 — titled “Mothers All the Way Down — is devoted to the importance of communicating the Cosmic Story through hands-on, experiential, place-based learning. I argue that this deep time, evolutionary perspective is one of the two “big ideas” that deserve to become the core of science education.

The book will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in March 2015.