Before my three children came along, I was an Early Childhood Educator and an Early Intervention Specialist with an educational background in Psychology. I learned so much from the children that I had the privilage to work with and continue to this day to reflect on my experiences. Most importantly I learned that when children are in a nurturing environment with access to inviting and engaging open-ended materials and they are given the freedom to explore and create, amazing things can happen. Now I get to witness this again and again with my own children.
I also get to relive my childhood joys of exploring and playing in nature with my children, who I now stay home with full-time and educate at home. It was easy for my husband and I to pass along our appreciation of nature to our children. It’s just a way of being for us. As my children get older, I want to support their sense of wonder of the natural world so that it will continue long into their adult years. Providing regular experiences and opportunities in the natural world is crucial to doing so.
Children should have plenty of unstructured time in nature and the adults in their lives should be right along side them encouraging their curiosity, igniting their enthusiasm, and guiding their interests into meaningful experiences.
I recently created the blog, Green Acorns, in hopes of helping families do just that. So many people today, including children, lead hurried lives full of scheduled activities. Unstructured time in nature has become rarer and the natural places which children can claim for their own to become intimate with, create new worlds in, observe the ways of nature, and just be are harder to find. To quote Richard Louv, it is up to us “to restore the broken bond between children and nature”.
While I am still finding my voice in the on-line world and know that Green Acorns will go through many stages of evolving, I hope that you will come along for the experience and, most of all, will find some inspiration for connecting the children in your life to the natural world and for instilling a sense of wonder.