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About Nature, Practice, and Children

January 15th, 2012 at 9:24 pm

“Great accomplishments seem imperfect” – Lao Tsu

 

 The Tao speaks of nature, and of us as part of nature. I have met many early childhood educators that passionately believe in the importance of a strong nature component in their classroom curriculum. As we tune ourselves into nature, we tune into ourselves, and the children. Nature teaches us about an aspect of the world to which many of us have lost connection. Knowingly or unknowingly we suffer from that disconnect.

My friend Stephanie Duckworth, from the Wampanoag tribe, writes in her book “Poneasequa, the Goddess of the Water” about her Grandfather encouraging her to get out of the house: “…I forgot, you would rather learn about life from things that are dead and lifeless then from living breathing things that can show you your own path and give you wisdom.” I encourage you to go outdoors with the children as often as you can. Find places as natural as you can find; places with the least of human manipulation. Spend time there in free play as well as in  teacher, parent or child directed exploration.

In the Tai Chi community there is a debate about  the practice of Tai Chi by children, while in the early childhood community there is a high level of interest in bringing such practices as Tai Chi, Yoga, and meditation into the classroom. As with most trends, we tend to forget the basics: Is what we are bringing to the children “age appropriate”? My mother believed that their are no subjects un fit for children.

Just as we do with clothes...we bring the subject to the children at the right size. If it is too big...it will not be usful!