Losing Oneself in School; Retaining Balance Through Nature
When children enter school, they bring with them their natural capacity for surveying the land and making meaning. But for many children, school means leaving some of themselves behind and disconnecting from a natural world of movement and lots of self-directed stimulation. Plenty of the school curriculum requires children to meet task demands that don't relate to their understanding of the natural world and begin to separate children from themselves and from nature.
Since I work with balance, movement and posture I like to use activities that continually create a sense of equilibrium with my children's own sense of identity and encourage play and nature engagement.
Most important activity: biking and hiking to and from school.
We're fortunate to live within 5 miles of our elementary school and bike (4x a week) hike (once a week) right past the car lines everyday. Astonishingly, though many children live around us that attend the same school, we are one of the few families that ventures to school this way.
- Break's the automobile dependency habit and mindset.
- Immerses children in the rhythms of nature. The pace and experience of arriving and departing school under a child's own power reminds our children of the rhythmical process underlying all other biological processes: ecological metabolism.
- Encourages children to use their natural "surveying instruments"-- senses of balance, self-movement, touch and overall proprioception (body awareness). This healthy integration on the way to and from school also manifests in the development of proper muscle tone.