Supporting early childhood professionals worldwide in
their efforts to craft thriving environments for children and adults.
Extend International Mud Day into Everyday Learning
The universal principle for Connecting Children with Nature we want to explore in this issue is:
We believe it is important for educators to allow enough time each day for children to explore freely in nature-based spaces.
A special day of celebration can help you either begin or extend the great experiences that take place regularly on the 'ordinary' days you have with children. For example, you can take your extra-ordinary experience of International Mud Day and continue your celebration into everyday experiences with dirt and soil. The Environmental Action Kit can help. (Go to www.worldforumfoundation.org/nature to find the Environmental Action Kit. Click on the Toolkit for Educators and Have An Adventure with "Let's Dig In" on page 39-41.) Frequent opportunities to investigate soil are one way to do this. Digging, sifting, exploring and analyzing dirt can be just as extraordinary.
Here are a variety of perspectives from educators around the world who are ensuring that children are learning with nature every day.
The class teacher of Grade 3 thought it would be nice to take the children on a field trip, bringing them a bit closer to nature. I was asked to accompany the group andtake photographs. Our group looked like they were about to embark on a great march, their heads buzzing with ideas and their faces full of excitement.
We were fortunate to witness some of Mother Nature's beauty as we saw the sun rise above the fog. The birds had already begun to stretch their wings and were hovering over the treetops (probably in search of worms) and chirping away quite musically. Despite the sunlight, it was still quite brisk and we could see the local farmers returning from the dairy after selling milk.
We reached the garden full of winter vegetables. Most of the children were familiar with the winter plants in the garden, rattling off their names. One boy said, "It's cauliflower. My mother has also planted some! She planted it in September or October and it will be ready in three months." This child has little need to be taught basic agriculture as he has already learned so much from his experiences at home. Another student excitedly pointed out a radish and went on to share all in one breath, "You eat the root, the part that is under the ground, you can cook it as curry, make pickle, or eat it without cooking as salad!"
• How can you support children's caretaking of plants in your program?
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