~ ONE ~Years ago, in a park class for children, the naturalist running the class said that education methods are changing with regards to nature and the out-of-doors. He said that part of the conservation message used to be that the planet is this super fragile thing that will break apart if you take so much as a twig home with you from you walk in the woods. He said this has caused a generation of children to see nature as a remote thing; they've no relationship to seasons, wildlife, or growing things. His goal is to change that. He lets his own kids take home rocks, flowers, and sticks; he encourages fellow park visitors to do the same. Even if I am not fond of bringing home every single thing that kids find on a hike, I agree with the hands-on philosophy towards nature.
~ TWO ~Are you familiar with natural playgrounds? Nature Play? Here's another nature play link. How about playscapes? [Try this site for tons of links, including links to tactile gardens, something I'd like to experience. Maybe one day in my own garden?] Have you come across forest kindergarten? It's an intriguing concept, although one that involved parents just do anyway.
~ THREE ~We have some nature play locations in our area. We visited one this week for the first time. The kids had a blast! They were able to do all those things you read that kids do when they grow up in rural areas, or with lots of property. They played in a stream, they built with sticks and branches, they discovered newts, frogs, and bugs. They were able to get messier than the suburban backyard or playground typically allow.
~ FOUR ~I have no photos to share with you from our fun day. I have been intentionally technology-free as of late. I wanted to remember the day in my memory alone. I didn't want to feel tempted to check news headlines or traffic updates. Well, and I didn't want to worry about my phone falling in the stream.
~ FIVE ~It was a good visit to the park for me, for different reasons. Certainly, I did spend time with the children. But I also had some quiet time whilst they played. The warm (very warm) sun on my skin. The sound of cicadas and birds. The canopy of green overhead. And flicking ants off my legs.
~ SIX ~After coming home from a lovely day where the kids roamed free, got dirty, hauled branches around, built dams, roamed in the sun without sunscreen and the like, I found this article: School bans ‘unsupervised cartwheels’ on playground. It's Australian. But those things happen here, too. Cartwheels are too dangerous. Football is dangerous. Tag is dangerous. Climbing apparatuses are dangerous. Anyone else notice how much we try to shield kids from so much that was once a normal part of childhood? Yet, things that don't belong to the realm of childhood become a part of the public school curriculum? I'm not providing links. We all know what I mean.
~ SEVEN ~I have a confession to make. I have a mental block against certain words, not remembering which one needs to be used where. I sometimes forget which is a naturalist and which is a naturist
Happy Weekend, 7 QT-ers!