Learning in Nature…We do it Everyday.
For the past several recesses, a group of elementary students has been using their free play time to hike through the woods hunting for and tagging Texas Persimmon trees. They see and hear the enthusiasm of their teacher as she talks about and looks for these trees. They cannot help but feel eager to be part of this natural world. Even when the teacher is not with them, they gather the tagging ribbons and they go persimmon tree hunting, day after day.
They learn immediately how to identify the trees. They have noticed what is significant about the bark (it is often variegated), where the trees grow (often next to dead cedar trees), the feel of the leaves (they are velvety and prone to bumpy growths), etc. Yes, this is an intensive environmental science field study…and it is PLAY for them. Yes, this is hands-on botany and orchard craft...and it is PLAY to them. There is so much learning going on, on SO many different and important levels. And it is PLAY to them.
They are honing their observation skills, listening to bird calls, looking at insects, and noticing plant growth patterns and soil conditions. They are wondering about weather patterns and how these affect the land and the plants and what we can maybe do to make it nicer for the plants to grow.
They are feeling at home…in their bodies, in the woods, in their school environment, and in their world. And, perhaps most importantly, their overwhelming approach is one of loving, active engagement, curiosity, and thoughtful problem solving.
This is what education can be for our children, and for our world.
Our hope for this blog is that it allows parents and the community a view inside the education we offer. Posts will include student projects, School on the Rise events and much more! Some blog post may be written by parents to enhance the overall community feel.