Laura Parker Roerden’s writing explores and promotes the development of social, emotional, and ethical development in young people towards creating socially-responsible adults, i.e. those who participate in democracy, positively contribute to their communities, and are stewards for the natural world.
Research shows that nurturing healthy relationships with peers, adults in their life and with the natural world can provide young people with the deep connection and sense of belonging necessary for later responsible action in the world.
“It’s quite simple,” Roerden explains. “Young people need to first feel safe and a sense of deep connection and belonging to the communities that we wish them to take responsible action within.”
“We can promote that sense of a healthy community in our classrooms, communities and families by nurturing pro-social skills such as responsible decision making, win-win conflict resolution, effective expression and regulation of feelings, cooperation and teamwork, and grit through challenge.” But that might not be enough.
“For many children,” Roerden adds, “who might not have always had a safe experience of being in community, time in nature can give the deep sense of belonging and connection necessary to healthy ethical development. This is why I love giving children those opportunities to explore who they are out of doors.”
“Often, there is something quite special that happens. And clearly, if we want children to be environmental stewards, we need them to have a relationship with nature–a felt sense of being part of nature, rather than apart from it.”
Her most recent work centers on the application of social, emotional and ethical learning to environmental education.
“Lessons from the Wild”
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Roerden, Laura P. Don’t Laugh at Me. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2000-2017. Includes Grades 2-5 and Grades 6-8 Guides, Camp Guide, Olympic Guide, and Training Manual.
Lantieri, Linda and Goleman, Daniel (forward) Building Emotional Intelligence: Practices to Cultivate Inner Strength in Children . Boulder, CO: Sounds True, 2007. Winner of the 2009 Nautilus Gold Award. (Ghost writer.)
Roerden, Laura P. Direct from the Field: A Guide to Bullying Prevention. Boston, MA: Commonwealth of Massachusetts 2007.
Editor, Impact Quality. Washington, D.C.: After-School Alliance, Volumes 1-3, 2002.
Olympians of the Heart. Steamboat Springs, CO: Athletes for Character Education, 2000.
Editor, Early Childhood Adventures in Peacemaking. Cambridge, MA: Educators for Social Responsibility, 1997 with William J. Kriedler and Sandy Whitall. Winner of a Distinguished Achievement Award, Association of Educational Publishers.
Roerden, Laura P. “The World Wide Web and Community Youth Development,” New Designs for Youth Development. Washington, D.C.: National Network for Youth, 1997.
Roerden, Laura P. A Summer of Service. Boston, MA: Work/Family Directions, 1997.
“Environmental Education on the Net,” GNN Magazine. Cambridge, MA: O’Reilly and Associates, 1993.