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The Importance of the Nature Walk

Natural Kids: The Importance of the Nature Walk

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Importance of the Nature Walk

One especially important and much-loved aspect of Waldorf education is the nature walk. The emphasis on  nature is an important one because it roots us back to the earth, that place we come from...the place that is too often forgotten in this fast-paced, electronic age. May Apples (above photo) remind my children of umbrellas. My mom always told them that little creatures of the forest reside underneath this canopy...and in our minds we imagined flower fairies hunched underneath them, waiting quietly for us to pass on by. 

The forest brings a sense of enchantment, mystery and wonder. What lurks in shallow pools? What creatures are scurrying in the brush? In shadowy places, do trolls watch us intently, wondering about us as we wonder about them? It's a way to bring out the imagination of children, the appreciation of our natural world and all that is in it.

Always on nature walks, we find sweet little friends. This striped water turtle was no more than 2" long. He was crossing a natural path, heading towards a pond. The children always delight over finding critters...that is the highlight of a nature walk! We study them briefly~ taking in their unusual markings, their funny personalities...and often an encounter such as this will bring on much discussion, with the younger children asking lots of questions. This is real, hands-on learning. We put him back, exactly where and how we found him, so he can carry on.

Let's whisper now and be oh, so as not to disturb the sleeping baby robins, waiting patiently for their next meal.  This is the reason I love homeschooling! My children are not rough, they have learned to be gentle and to tread lightly on the earth....leaving only footprints behind. We do not take more than we need, we leave the place as beautiful and wonderful as we found it. We always take a nature journal to fill out and record our findings. I especially  love this one: My Nature Journal

There is more learning here in these few moments than will ever be had merely looking at photos in a book!

And during this time, we find ourselves again...the peace within us shines forth, for all to see. We come home refreshed, ready to start another day. We are thankful for our earth, nature, beauty and sunshine. We are a little more connected, to each other and to the dirt. We believe this time of wonder, exploration and adventure is an essential part of the Waldorf way of life. Thank you for coming with us on our journey!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, this so makes me want to get out into the woods! Your pictures are gorgeous, but the memories are priceless :)

June 4, 2008 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger Bella said...

Beautiful article, thank you so much. For further reading, I'd like to recommend 'Last Child in the Woods' by Richard Louv. "a look at the staggering divide between children and the outdoors". The author discusses obesity, depression and attention deficit disorders in kids as a direct result of our loss of connection to the natural word. Disturbing but a profound read.

June 4, 2008 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger TheSingingBird said...

Jenn, how can you say you don't write very well after a beautiful article like this?! I felt like I was walking with you through this enchanting wood.

I would also like to recommend 2 fictional books called The Wind Boy and The House Above The Trees by Ethel Cook Eliot because I feel like they capture some of the magic you've described here.

June 4, 2008 at 1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooo, we have three chapters left in The Wind Boy. It's been our bedtime reading book for the last month!

June 4, 2008 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger FairiesNest said...

What a lovely post! There is nothing that can connect us to our spirits better then a walk through nature.

June 4, 2008 at 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We love the 'Wind Boy'! It's a great read! And also, 'Last Child in the Woods'...Thanks for reminding me! I have been meaning to check that one out!

June 4, 2008 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger WoolComesAlive said...

Beautiful photos and words to help create a strong anchor in our hearts for the importance and beauty of the living world! Thanks for your inspiration!

June 5, 2008 at 10:16 PM  

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