Home » Articles on Demand » Of Spiders, Worms, and Preschoolers: Engaging Children's Sense of Wonder in the Great Outdoors




Of Spiders, Worms, and Preschoolers: Engaging Children's Sense of Wonder in the Great Outdoors

by Paul Belz
November/December 2009
Access over 3,000 practical Exchange articles written by the top experts in the field through our online database. Subscribe Today!

Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/of-spiders-worms-and-preschoolers-engaging-childrens-sense-of-wonder-in-the-great-outdoors/5019057/

Naturalist Michael Charnofsky opened a compost bin and gently removed a handful of worms. "These little creatures eat dead plants and make soil. We need soil to grow the plants that we eat." He placed worms in curious children's palms.

"They wiggle when they crawl through the mud," ­Charnofsky said.

"I like to wiggle in mud," a girl laughed.

"Yes, but you don't live there," Charnofsky grinned. "Let's think about your home."

Ecologist Rachel Carson would have loved ­Charnofsky's work. Her book The Sense of Wonder (1956) ­described her experiences with her young nephew, Roger. Carson watched while Roger turned over rocks, dug in the soil, and discovered plants and animals. She de-emphasized naming the creatures; she preferred to share her own amazement and to engage his sensory awareness with the complex and constantly changing earth. Carson felt that wonder was the ­foundation of all knowledge:

"I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the ­parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel," she wrote. "If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the ­emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil where the seeds must grow.

Carson understood that ...

Want to finish reading Of Spiders, Worms, and Preschoolers: Engaging Children's Sense of Wonder in the Great Outdoors?

You have access to 5 free articles.
or an account to access full article.