Below is a series of snapshots that remind me how trees enrich education and touch the lives of our children.
Children need first hand experiences of the world around us. The multi-sensory nature of being outside and in the presence of trees makes the experience memorable and the learning retained.
As a child investigates a tree, his curiosity is aroused. As Socrates said “Wisdom begins with wonder.”
Trees have hidden secrets. The joy of finding these adds to the learning moment rather than detracts.
“To climb a tree is for a man to discover a new world”
Frederick Froebel, Education of Man, 1826
The change of perspective, being up high can give children a feeling of space and freedom.
Children can test their physical skills and agility. This brings immeasurable satisfaction and learning about one’s own limits and abilities.
Even when cut down, trees have a high play value for children. They can be loved in death, as well as loved to death.
In our busy world, children need still moments.
“There is always music amongst the trees, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”
Cooperation and conversations tend to increase outdoors. As the saying goes “Imagination is about what you haven’t got, not what you have!” These girls are playing “houses”.
Old traditions can meet new ones. This girl uses her digital camera to take a snapshot of the Penny Stump. Pushing a penny into this stump will bring you luck.
Children can learn where objects come from and how they are made. These willow items came from the homes of children to make a living willow museum.
Trees can make a unique display space for children’s work.
Dens and shelters are children’s first steps on the path to leaving home and making their own. A mark of independence.
“He who plants a tree, plants hope.”
Children and trees can grow up together, making a lasting connection between themselves and the land.
“In the end we will only conserve what we love. We will only love what we understand. We need to cultivate relationships between children and trees. Talking to trees, hiding, playing and having fun in trees precedes saving trees and taking positive action for the environment.”
adapted from Sobel (2008) Nature Design Principles
PS: For a superb example of how trees enhance an outdoor playspace visit Sherry and Donna’s Climbing Trees post.
PPS: This post is part of the Friday Nature Table at The Magic Onion blog.