Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rush hour

I'm currently out of coffee, so this was not one of my better mornings, parenting-wise.

I coaxed, I nagged, then finally bullied the kids into putting away their legos and eating breakfast. I rushed them to get dressed, and then crabbed at them as I zipped, snapped, and velcroed all the assorted winter gear. Finally, we spilled out into the backyard. The kids wandered in a daze, stomping on the chunks of snow, kicking frozen leaves.

I unlocked the car doors, barking, "Come on, guys, get in the car!" and L was standing next to the patch of ground where we started a little flower garden over the summer. "In the car!" I said again.

"But Mommy, I want to show you something!!" she pleaded.

"OK, honey, I'll look at it after you get in the car." I said, buckling J into the car seat.

"No, I want to look at it with you" she said quietly.

Huffy, I walked over to where she was standing.

"Look!" She said in a stage whisper. "The little purple flowers we planted are still there!" She was utterly delighted, thrilled that the flowers were still there, despite the recent snow and frosty mornings.

For children, these little discoveries in nature are so important, and they become even more special when shared with a caring adult. In our constant rushing around, it's easy to lose touch with that, to forget to notice and share the special discoveries our children are so good at finding. Or to dismiss them in favor of other more pressing things.

But allowing children (and ourselves!) the time to make these discoveries is such a gift. Being geninely interested in sharing those discoveries is the best way to honor a child's curiosity and wonder. We honor our children's relationships with nature when we value the discoveries they make. We honor our children's abilities to make discoveries, to notice things. To be curious.

I'm so grateful to my daughter for calling me back to what's important. I'm so glad she took the time to stop and notice, despite my rushing and griping. And I'm glad I took the time to share the discovery with her.

Even if it did make us late for school.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

we're back!

It's good news that I've been so busy with work demands-there is a huge interest in the "children and nature" movement and I've had lots of interesting and inspiring conversations and lots of great work. I'm just finishing up with teaching a University class on Children and Nature, which has been wonderful but very time-consuming. The Bad news here is that-maybe you noticed the 6 month lapse?- my writing has taken a back seat. I'm hoping to change that.

Recently I attended a workshop on the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, and I'm so intrigued. It's an approach that embraces art and creativity and where the interests of children drive the explorations of the class. I am thinking about how my work as a science educator can be influenced by this approach. I'm also very interested in learning more about how Reggio responds to the natural world, where it makes room for children to connect with nature.

Here at home, we've been enjoying the first snowfall of the season. Dug out the winter gear and hit the slopes for an afternoon of sledding. I'm convinced there is no better way to unleash one's "inner child" than by jumping on a sled in fresh snow.