“Contact with nature may be as important to children as good nutrition and adequate sleep” (Gill 2005)
I have had the opportunity the last several weeks to experience some of nature’s most wondrous transformations with the children! It all began around or just before Earth Day in April! We started to look at various seeds and through a few activities watch them develop their roots, sprout and in our potato bin, grow in to a plant!
This wasn’t the end of our experience however! Both StrongStart and Preschool had the exciting opportunity to watch in both kindergarten classes the process of “Egg to Chick” and “Caterpillar to Butterfly.” StrongStart was very fortunate to help release the butterflies into the outside world which the children thought that “this was amazing!”
Involving the children in these experiences have reinforced my beliefs on the importance of providing children of all ages with the hands-on opportunity to witness and participate in the discovery, the wonders and excitement of nature! Not only do children see the transformations, but are learning and developing so many skills!
It takes cooperation and planning with others to plant a garden and it takes patience and responsibility to care for plants and animals so they can grow and develop.
Children are able to get creative in the way they approach their interactions with nature; digging in dirt, what they grow, and inspiration that transfers into their play or art! And I truly feel that if children have the opportunity to be involved in something so precious as nature, it will contribute to nurturing and gentleness towards others as well.
Although the chicks have returned to the farm and the butterflies have been released outside, our experience with nature is not finished for the school year! We continue to provide sunlight and water to our potato garden and anticipating the day when we will dig in the dirt and find potatoes! It is our hope to find potatoes in the dirt and finally make the “french fries” we have grown!