Celebrating Trees and Children

15 October 2010 · 7 comments

in Nature Play & Learning, Outdoor Play

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.”
Minnie Aumonier

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.”
Lucy Larcom

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

Photo copyright: Ty Tyson
The 25thΒ National Tree Week runs from 27th November to 5th December 2010 in the UK. Time to let our children plant a tree for life, learning and love.

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.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

SquiggleMum October 15, 2010 at 06:23

Is anything more beautiful and exciting to a child than a tree? Lovely post J.

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L~ October 15, 2010 at 12:55

πŸ˜€ Our school is doing an all school poetry project this month, where the littles are paired with an older student and they create a poem together based on the observations made. It’s so timely to your post, because the theme for this year is: trees.

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Foxglove Spires October 15, 2010 at 15:47

What a lovely blog you have, we have enjoyed reading this post and seeing your lovey photos. Such beauty of the trees, there life and wonders.

(My daughter loves the little wooden house on you side bar)

Have a lovely weekend.

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Debi October 15, 2010 at 15:58

Trees make me happy. I hope to pass on that sentiment to my little ones. Beautiful post!

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(V.Kerr) School Time Adventures October 15, 2010 at 15:58

Love it, love it. Taking pics of kids in trees are my favorite!

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Teacher Tom October 18, 2010 at 00:29

Thanks for this, Juliet. I think I’ll go out and climb a tree.

Once in college my roommates and I decided to climb the big tree outside the main library. For some reason we thought the authorities wouldn’t approve so we waited until it was late at night and began to climb. When we got near the top, we found there was someone already up there just waiting for us in the branches.

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Abbie October 18, 2010 at 14:37

These images are awesome. I love the quotes. So much of this is exactly why I started my blog! Thanks for sharing.

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