Ocean Matters

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Laura Parker Roerden’s work 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 through the nonprofit she founded in 2001 Ocean Matters, centers on the application of social, emotional and ethical learning to environmental education through service learning.

Published by Laura Parker Roerden

Laura Parker Roerden shares a love of what nature can teach us. Writer, public speaker and supportor of youth to boldly know and save the wilds. She is the founding director of Ocean Matters and a fourth generation farmer and thinks today’s young people are reason to be hopeful about the many environmental problems facing us. She lives on a family farm in Massachusetts with her husband, three boys, and an assortment of fruit trees and farm animals.

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