FALLING IN LOVE WITH NATURE
All children need to see and experience trees to understand their deep-rooted connection to these magnificent beings and the positive impact they have on our well being.
Continuing our project “MUSIC AND STORIES FROM THE SPIRIT OF THE TREES” – inspired by a beautiful piece of music by Jon Sherman – Butterfly Blue (see previous post)
We took each class, grade 3, 4 ,5 and a kindergarten class on an outing to the forest to help the students get to know the place they live in – the insects and birds, the trees, the flowers and the sacred land. The students investigated Black Cottonwoods, Ponderosa Pines and the Douglas-Fir.
To quote Robert Bateman ” In school, kids learn more about the problems of the Amazon Rainforest than about the wooded area at the end of their street – it’s not more courses; its experience.”
I asked each student to take their time to find a tree – let the tree speak to them, there will be something about a specific tree that attracts you to it. By allowing the students to choose their own tree, they feel an instant connection
Getting intimate with nature
Touch the bark, feel the texture, each tree feels different, smells different, looks different.
The tree stump fascinated a group of boys
Others found peace just observing and drawing. Others climbed, poked, measured and investigated the birds and insects that live in and around the tree.
Students find trees a great source of inspiration and comfort. One student told me she felt sorry for her tree for it didn’t have many branches, so she gave it a big hug.
Each student sketched their tree and wrote words to describe how the tree(s) made them feel.
Others named their tree and were eager to introduce me to their tree and some promised to revisit their tree and they would know exactly which one it was.
Being creative in nature with nature offers rich, authentic experiences that help children see the earth as a mother, a teacher, a provider, and our home. The butterfly, the dragonfly and the bee become the students friends. They begin to fall in love with the birds, trees and insects that they see, hear and touch.
Through hands on exploration art activities that take the students to environments for observation and drawing then creating stories and sculptures based on their finding, captivates their hearts and instills a life-long appreciation for the natural world.
Each child connected with a tree that day–making my heart sing – This is why I love my work.
As our creative journey continues, I see the students become more animated, more inquisitive and eager to learn, study and experiment with their imagination and explore their creative intelligence.
We all have a responsibility to provide opportunities for our children to fall in love with nature. When we touch nature, nature touches us. Children who play and learn in nature are happier, healthier and have a deeper love and appreciation for the natural world : www.educatingheartnatureart.com
A big thank you to Kim Findlater for taking these great photographs on our hike and deep appreciation for the teachers dedication and enthusiasum for Artstarts in schools.