Nature Play: Part One

Spring is in the air and I’m craving barefoot walking through the grass, Sangria on the porch and the excitement of little toddlers discovering a new experience in nature. I will be doing a four part series in the month of March on the subject of nature.

This week is an introduction to a primary text from Charlotte Mason (volume 6) on nature study. Her sincere belief in time outside is beautiful:

“It is infinitely well worth the mother’s while to take some pains every day to secure in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst rural and natural objects; and, in the second place, to infuse into them, or rather, to cherish in them, the love of investigation…

(FAQ: But how do you stop them from eating the dirt? A: You don’t. I mean you can tell them no and redirect all day long, but the truth is that they are learning. Obviously try not to allow them to eat mouthfuls but a little dirt probably won’t hurt them. In fact, some believe that small traces in the bacteria in dirt actually helps children.More to come on this topic another day..) (FAQ: What do you do with her outside all day? A: Follow her lead. Let her explore and discover the world around her. Sometimes I offer “Toy prompts” like this large metal cooking pot. But very often, I just let her use her imagination. You don’t need a bunch of activities outside to reap the benefits. In fact, I would argue that by not providing many objects outside of nature’s gifts, you are giving your child the opportunity to learn in the most authentic way)

The child who learns his science from a text-book, though he go to Nature for illustrations, and he who gets his information from objects lessons, has no chance of forming relations with things as they are, because this kindly obtrusive teacher makes him believe that to know about things is the same as knowing them personally…

Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life…”

Charlotte Mason, Volume 6

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