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Seeing Through Children’s Eyes
December 7, 2021
If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.
-Rachel Carson

"We often hear the saying ‘through a child’s eyes.’ What this actually means is that everything is intriguing and surprising because everything is new to them. We respond to this newness by soaking it all up. We cannot help but be inspired by it." So writes educator and designer Michelle Pratt, in the Out of the Box Training Kit, "Using the Element of Surprise in Environmental Design."  Pratt invites us to renew our own sense of wonder and to incorporate elements of surprise into the spaces and activities we share with children.

Her ideas echo the late Rachel Carson, who intuited so much of what we’ve learned from brain research on the connection between emotion and cognition: "If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil." Importantly, Pratt addresses the need to ground whimsy and wonder to a secure foundation: "Security happens because there’s been a clear decision to provide attention to the four basic environmental needs, movement, comfort, competence, control."

Many young children are entering a holiday season this year with more public movement, people and activities than they’ve experienced in their lifetimes. Carson and Pratt’s words ground us in the opportunity to shape these new experiences with both security and surprise. How will you make this happen for the children in your lives? Please share your ideas and stories in the comments.

Want to learn more about creating natural outdoor classrooms for children? Here’s a free resource:

ECI Webinar: "Growing Natural Outdoor Preschool Classrooms to Scale: Los Angeles Unified School District’s Bold Approach" December 8, 2021, 2 PM Eastern

Join Dr. Dean Tagawa, Ranae Amezquita, and Kirsten Haugen to learn how and why the second-largest school district in the United States has committed to creating natural outdoor classrooms in every one of its early care and education centers. The presenters will share LAUSD’s multi-year journey to convert largely asphalt play areas into nature-rich outdoor classrooms with spaces for music and movement, block building, art, climbing and balancing and more. Building on key partnerships with natural learning environment experts and other vital community stakeholders to fund, build, and sustain these natural learning spaces has yielded an impressive model for early care and education organizations of all sizes to emulate.

Out of the Box Training

Use coupon code CLASSROOMS at checkout
for buy one, get one free on
ALL Out of the Box Trainings

Out of the Box Training Kits are ready-to-use professional development programs on a variety of contemporary topics to support and improve the skills and pedagogy of those who work with young children.

May not be combined with any other offer. Not applicable on past purchases. Sale expires January 19, 2022 at 11:59 pm PST.


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