5 Ways to Nurture the Nature Connection...

nature pedagogy Feb 15, 2021

Yesterday afternoon, my two daughters came inside with a grasshopper in hand. They held it carefully, but wanted desperately to show me what they had found. Once I had admired the little creature, they took it back outside. A few moments later, they came inside and asked to borrow my phone.

"We want to make a video of hoppy", they said. 

And so, they did. They took a video of this little grasshopper hopping from the monkey bars to the swing. 

These two are always admiring small creatures. They make habitats for the tiny skinks in our backyard, and watch snails creep across the path. And while sometimes I worry about them squashing a bug or being covered in snail slime, ultimately I understand that this hands on interest in the natural world is teaching them so much. Watching a snail as it comes out of its shell to explore its' world, teaches us so much more about how its' body works than reading it in a book. 

 

A connection to the natural world is vital, and yet, in a time where many children (and adults) are more focused on the strength of the internet connection, it can fall by the wayside. 

So, I've put together a really small list of things we can do - for both ourselves and the children we work with/care for - to nurture our connection to nature. 

 

5 Ways to Nurture the Nature Connection... 

  1. Spend more time outdoors. Sounds pretty simple right? So much of our time now is spent on screens and devices. When we unplug and get outside, we broaden our opportunities for connection with the natural environment. We see new things, smell new things, hear new things. 
  2. Take off your shoes. "The earth beneath your feet provides you with food and water. It gives you a surface to sit, stand, walk, run, swim, climb, play, and build on. It also provides you with something very surprising - electrons. When you touch the ground with your bare feet or body, the electrons flow into you. This is called being “grounded.” - www.earthing.com
  3. Grow things. Both indoors and outdoors, provide children with the opportunity to grow vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. It is a truly connecting experience to plant a seed and watch, over time, as it sprouts into something beautiful, or edible. 
  4. Consider your language. When the rain is falling outside, how often do we say "It's a horrible rainy day"? When in fact, the rain is important, the rain is beautiful. Yes, sometimes it is wildly inconvenient (as a side note - why does it always rain at school pick up time?!), but we should model gratitude for this essential weather condition. Try commenting instead, on the impact the rain is having. For example: "look at how much it is raining! The plants are going to love this, they need the rain to grow." 
  5. Model kindness to creatures. If we go about our day stomping ants that cross our paths, or spraying harmless garden spiders, what message are we sending to children? With my children, we often talk about where the ants might be going - "do you think they are heading home from work to their family?"  When my daughter was stung by a wasp recently (ouch!), while we held the ice pack on her arm, we talked about how scared the wasp must feel to make it sting someone. 

 

Well, there you have it. 5 really simple ways to nurture the nature connection. 

Have you got something that you do with children to nurture their connection to nature? Let us know below!

 

If you are in the Newcastle area, you will want to join us for this full day intensive - where we will get hands on in nature! Find out more and register today

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