Saturday, January 23, 2010

“Help Your Child to Wonder”

This was the title of an article David Suzuki referred to in a piece I read today about the benefits of outdoor schooling for kids.

“Think of how much more interesting and valuable math would be if it were made less abstract by relating it to natural phenomena, such as calculating the height of a tree,” he suggested (Outdoor Schooling has Many Benefits, 2009, David

It’s a concept worth hanging on to, in an age of computer games and other mediums that are creating more of a pull indoors. Playing outside is seemingly becoming a distant norm. I’ve even heard of schools canceling recess…Can you imagine?

Coincidently, I stood outside for almost an hour (and while in desperate need of a coffee) watching my three year old daughter play in the snow today. It was so magical for her - falling in it, throwing it in the air (and at me), trying to make a mini-sized snowman on her own, in addition to adding snow and eyes to the sad looking and half melted one we made a while ago. It was all I could do to get her in the house – lots of fuss – for the sake of playing in the snow.

Nature is so profound in many simple ways. It gives us so much, and I’m one of those who are in awe of its many wonders. I agree with David about getting our kids outside in nature to explore. And it’s not even that I have much time to do so – but I try. We live in a beautiful environment – and I cherish it tremendously.

So, I also appreciate this quote he cited by the late Rachel Carson, “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.”

Do we pave the way for a future of facts and figures or a sense of wonder? How about a little bit of both? It’s food for thought I guess – something to think about - as our children are spending less time outdoors, yet are the future determinant of the survival of our environment.

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