Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nature Study

Every child is a Scientist with a magnifying glass in hand.

I had the pleasure of teaching several Junior Master Naturalist classes last spring. Each day was an amazing adventure and I really enjoyed watching the children pull on their rubber boots and dig into the world around them. I found a few pictures we took one day as we began a poster that would show how an area changes with the seasons. 

One of MANY caterpillars we found.
When these guys were sharing their observations I found it thrilling to note how closely they were looking at EACH thing we found.

It's one of the the things kids are good at, seeing what we don't.
Slowing down.
Noticing the details. 
Living in the moment.
How do I decide what is important for us to study?
I don't.
They do. 
My job is only to point them in the right direction and then try to show them how learn more about their discovery.

It works. 

Children want to KNOW.
It's why they ask so many questions.
Teach them how to find the answers themselves and soon they will know more about what has inspired them than everyone but the true expert.

That expert will be delighted to hear such a small person speaking intimately about their favorite subject matter.

Kissy's favorite snake friend.

Sometimes the things they love will be outside your comfort zone and that's okay. It's an opportunity for you to expand your zones. I saw an illustration recently that showed some circles that were labeled comfort zone and where the magic happens. The magic, of course, happening outside your comfort zone. I've found that to be true with snakes and spiders. Perhaps with all things creepy crawly.

I'm now able to hold a snake because I had to demonstrate to my children that there is nothing scary about them. I used to be terrified of snakes. I've learned that I can like them, and I'm grateful that I worked on that for my children. Kiska might very well turn out to be an amazing herpetologist because of it.

Or she might turn out to be a mother who doesn't have to overcome her fear of snakes to share the natural world with her children.

Either way, I've won.

Share the world with your child.

It's worth it.

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