All too often children get mixed messages about nature.
On one hand adults romanticise nature to children and expound liberally about how important it is to ‘save’ mother earth and we wax lyrical about the beauty of nature. On the other hand we all too often prohibit them from playing in the rain and slush, use the word ‘dirt’ synonymously for ‘soil’ and cringe when we chance upon a ‘bug’ or worm or ‘creepy-crawly’. When a young child instinctively bends down to pick up a tiny creature she comes across we hasten to get it out of their hands!
The fact is children come unconditioned about the creatures they share this planet with and slowly take on the prevailing attitudes of those around them. This is an important evolutionary step. It is how we learn about our world from the experiences of others. We learn what to stay away from and what to seek. In times long past it was the line between life and death itself!
A parent who delights in the simplest things of nature usually has a child who delights in nature too. I have a young friend, just past 3 years who LOVES ‘bugs’. She enjoys looking at them, handling them and talking about them. They make her world interesting and magical. You don’t have to look far to find out where this fascination comes from. You just have to meet her mother!
Upon hearing the word, ‘worms’ most people cringe, right?
Walk into school and you will find an entirely different mind set when it comes to earthworms! They inspire awe and the children are truly fascinated by them. The child who has found an earthworm wriggling about on a cloudy, rainy day, feels s/he has chanced upon true treasure.
The internal anatomy of the earthworm has been sewn onto cloth and made into soft toys with the shiniest beads used to denote their 5 hearts. Clay models have been fashioned, poems have been written and thick books completed, paying homage to the earthworm.
They are the ‘new’ super heroes at school.
Upon hearing about the great work that earthworms do one child pondered, “Just like earthworms don’t know the important work they do for earth, do we humans also not know some great work that we are doing?”
by Valerie Worth
Put on palm,
They roll and
Glisten in the sun
As new rubies
Dug out of