"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature ‑ the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter." ~Rachel Carson, conservationist and author of The Sense of Wonder
When asked what gifts our Opal 1 tree has given to us this year TP responded, "It's given us color. It's a gift because I like color-y things. It is just the gift of beautiful-ness." SS responded, "You just inspired me! It gives the gift of amazement. When people look at it they will be amazed." As the children in Opal 1 began noticing signs of spring appearing in the arboretum, on our playground, and in their own yards and neighborhoods they immediately began to connect their observations back to our project work and our own Opal 1 tree. They suggested that it too should be showing us signs of spring.
Together, Carole and I wondered what those signs of spring might look like in the classroom. What opportunities might we create for children to nurture their sense of wonder and excitement, to gain experience and understanding around the big idea of change, and to connect what they have been paying attention to and noticing outside in the natural world to the work we have done together inside the classroom.
Last week we began collecting some of these signs of spring from our own yards, gardens and neighborhoods.
We want to give the children an opportunity to really spend time with and study the flowers; to wonder about their creation and to simply enjoy the colors, scent and creation.
What can be learned from a flower?
The children have been invited to spend time getting to know the flowers.
Looking and feeling
Taking apart the flowers to see the parts that go together
Sharing with each other
They were invited to capture their discoveries using wire and paper. The children have been working to create sculptures of their flowers, petal by petal capturing the personalities of the flowers they have observed.
We continue to wonder with the children:
Why are there flowers?
We feel so amazed by them, what is it about them that amazes us?
Do the changes in nature create changes in us?
What have we learned from the flowers?