The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart. – Helen Keller
Being Green. Thinking Green. Outdoor Green. Garden Green.
To bring children in touch with the natural world it is important to set the example of what it is to be "green". The best and easiest way is to engage children in hands on activities, creating with materials, observing in the outdoors, modeling being green, and allow the environment to be the third teacher.
Our school THINKS organically GREEN; we recycle, we reuse, re-purposed items, and think how we can save on energy. We all are children of nature and we love the outdoors. At our school we have beautiful butterfly garden, 5 senses garden, vegetable garden, and Michigan Native Garden.
Gardening with children allows children to see nature in a natural organic process. Using our five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell) is a great way to interact with the natural world and to learn and experience things you have never noticed before.
Think of every time a child walks outside that they are using all their Five Senses. Be mindful of not only what you see, but what you can hear, smell, feel — even...with caution...taste!
Every year in the spring we start a gardening "Sunflower Hut" project. We play in dirt. We plant seeds indoors, plan how we are going to layout then plant the hut, tend to the garden, and harvest an annual sunflower hut. Its a beautiful way to involve children in the full circle of plant life. It is a process; we involve the children in every step of the way. Children get to see nature by; observing, thinking, drawing, touching, counting, creating with clay, sticks, paint, watercolors, and oil pastels to name a few ways the children work with nature and natural materials all hands on experiences. The children even document it. As you can see in the above photo.
This is the second consecutive year that Building Blocks Preschool in Highland has been awarded this honor. In its award to Building Blocks Preschool, the Green Schools awards committee cited, “It takes extra time, effort, planning, and drive to implement the initiatives outlined in the Green Schools Program. We appreciate your involvement and leadership in coordinating the Green Schools program as well the efforts of the students, staff, parents, volunteers and school community.” Please go to http://www.michigangreenschools.us/ On the home page you will see one another one of our students observing and documenting the sunflowers in the hut.
As Helen Keller suggested, the gifts of our senses can lead us to beautiful discoveries. For me, the sound of children playing outdoors, leads me back to a memory of my childhood, and how much I loved being outdoors playing in our 2 acre back yard, our school and our green commitment bring me full circle to nature, where I discover what it really means to see, even when my eyes are closed.
How do you see nature? Comment below.
For more information about our school visit; www.BuildingBlocksschool.com