Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nature as a school

Years ago I trained to work with children from the age of 0 to 8 years. I very much believe that the first few years of our lives mould how we experience the world and how it nurtures our innate potential. Or otherwise. My counselling training and experience as a therapist show how our beliefs and values sponged up during those years, still hold true whether appropriate or not.
Our time on earth is limited and what we can give eachother every day are opportunities for memories as well as opportunities to share the magic that surrounds us. Some of it we see, other things we need to be shown to see. For example, Mark is brilliant at capturing the insects beyond our usual vision and I am grateful to be reminded of something that I usually do not stop and stare at. It rekindles however memories in me of the wonder I had as a child and as early years educator around the subject of creepy crawlies. Also of the memories of wonderful wonder moments my children have exhibited.
Mum, look how pink the flowers are on that tree. Look, its pink.

Such moments create a split second awareness of wonder. Children live in the here and now, they absorb, they use all the senses they were given. They feel part of the world and as they grow up, we tend them and nurture them as we would small plants. Their potential lies in our hands.
Yesterday while watering the plants in the polytunnel my son came up to me with the following gem:
Gardening....Mum I am so glad you are doing that...its so ecofriendly?

What I cannot put into words is the smile and the feelings that these little comments generate to me. It confirms that how I am nurturing these souls in my care, is the right way to do so, contrary sometimes to the belief of our education system.

If you have never heard of forest schools, go and explore. Its never too late. We all have some fantastic memories of living under the stars, building camp fires, sharing a meal together on the beach.
I can teach art, science, literacy and numeracy in my garden.
DS3 is looking at yield per potatoe plant, size and texture. We talked about how long the stalks were, how long the growing period was and the difference between tubers, roots and beans.
The opportunity is here to talk about texture, smell, shape, quantity, volume and all in a trug full of spuds.
Problem solving comes up every day...Here was the question :
I have 12 green cabbage plants
I have 12 red cabbage plants
I would like 3 rows
How many in each row?
I also want a pattern of red/green.
How can you make that happen.
Look at root structure. How deep does it need to be planted? How far apart? How do you measure that?

Fun...did anyone mention fun in education?

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