I have been teaching nature now for over 20 years and it never ceases to amaze me how energized children become after climbing a tall trail, seeing tiny fish in a stream, seeing seals on the beach or a small frog in a pond. They become inwardly changed. Through these short nature experiences the children beg for them again and again. Nature is profound healer for our spiritual souls.
We joyfully created a beaver den and crows nest in our classroom by using all natural materials. The children learned about the parts of each and how the animals create their habitats. This was used for their dramatic play.
|Clipping their painted bark to the beaver dam, adding sticks and branches.|
Children focusing on painting bark etchings during art.
This unit lasted for over a month. The grand finale was "direct experience" to Carkeek Park in Seattle, Washington. The children were able to expand their own realities and build on the nature activities they used in our classroom. This enabled them to explore the park with a new sense of wonder and reference toward nature, but also working with nature. We searched for fish, beavers, listened to the coyotes, a viewing in binoculars of parental aerie of hawks training the young eyas to fly, and watched a large band of crows as they mysteriously welcomed us to the beach.
There's noting quite like crawling in a large tree cavity that can hold all your friends.