Look! Look! Look deep into nature and you will understand everything. Albert Einstein
Three small groups of children set out into the woods this fall. Each group took the same path around the same set of trees, grass, fallen logs, and creek. But they each saw and experienced something different. The first group saw a million different shades of green, the second group saw leaves glowing with sunshine, and the last group saw the leaves dancing around them as they fell to the ground. Some saw chipmunks, others noticed the swishing giant cottonwoods, and others heard/spied a woodpecker. We sniffed and gathered walnuts and honey locust seed pods. Alice told us to put the seeds in our pockets, because if we do then we are REAL explorers. And so, we all stuffed our pockets with seeds because we were not pretending!
We stood among the trees and breathed the air they created. We stopped and listened to the Earth around us. We examined the forest floor and took notice of the small. We ran along the path and experienced freedom and joy that can only be found in such spaces.
With our pockets stuffed, our lungs full of forest air, and a spotted creature or two, we headed back to school to tell our stories about what we saw and heard. The others listened eagerly, wanting to know what it was like in the woods on that day.
As the adult in the group walking with small children at my side, I could feel the wonderment and magic of a familiar yet unknown space. I was the lucky one who got to go all three times and see the changes. I was better able to notice them myself having been accompanied by young eyes and minds. I am told it is my job to teach them the ways of the Earth. But on such days, I realize we walk this path together.
Go out, go out I beg of you
And taste the beauty of the wild.
Behold the miracle of the earth
With all the wonder of a child.
5 day teacher