Part of the philosophy of forest school is connecting children to specific natural places. As children make memories and love the space, they will in time advocate for it or similar spaces. This week as I've been amazed by children who are concerned about the earth, this quote by David Sobel seems fitting:
“If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it.”
The Naturehood group went on a scavenger hunt this past week. In talking about safety, I briefly mentioned that they were welcome to pick up garbage, but to always ask a leader to pick up glass. The children ended up filling two grocery bags full of garbage! Picking up garbage and leaving the area looking cleaner seemed to be a natural part of what these children wanted to do as they interacted with nature.
After our scavenger hunt, we talked about what the City of Kitchener was doing to let nature be nature. Responses included: leaving trees standing instead of building houses, and leaving natural spaces so animals have homes. We discussed what the community was doing that wasn't taking care of nature. That was an easy answer: “so much garbage” - which the children had been keen to clean up.
In our Foxes group, a few children noticed garbage in the swamp, including chicken wire and electrical wires. They were very concerned about the animals that live there. We talked about what we could do about it and decided to write a letter to “the guy in charge of the park.” A couple of times on our walk, children reminded me, “We can't forget to write that letter.”
In composing a letter to “the guy in charge of the park” the children dictated while I wrote. There was some discussion about whether he will need a net to reach the garbage since it wasn't close to the edge of the swamp. However, as it looks deep, we decided fisherman's pants may be a better choice.
Children seek out empowering experiences to impact the earth in positive ways. Concern and love for a place and creatures can lead to action.
Small people, playing in nature, concerned about the earth, and trying to make a difference.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
by Giselle Carter
Hammers, Huge Swings, and the Freedom to Play