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The Magic of Nature and the Child

My foundations as a Montessori educator and artist have guided me in my perspective and view of the child. For me to look in the direction of the child's formation, to the highly sensitive time from birth to age six when impressions form the person the child will become, when character foundation is solidified and when wonder is encouraged or crushed. This period is also when children awaken and ask what makes them unique and special. Children are looking for the places they belong and are awakened to their inborn spirituality. Dr. Maria Montessori observed the child's inner life and well-being. We can do much of the child, the whole child's development, the person, the soul, and she called this the Absorbent Mind.

"The Absorbent Mind forms the basis of the society created by man, and we see it in the guise of the gentle and tiny child who solves by the virtue of his love the mysterious difficulties of human destiny."

The Absorbent Mind, (4)

The Absorbent Mind is a Theory first observed by Dr. Maria Montessori. There is an intense period of brain development and "absorption" of the environment, including language, culture, social and emotional relationships, and sensitivities. The child spontaneously absorbs everything in their environment, like a photograph. The process is primarily unconscious until the age of six years.

One of our jobs as educators is a sacred duty to safeguard this pure and transformative time by allowing this essence of the child to grow as an individual, to develop and connect to their community and culture. The idea of the Absorbent Mind offers us a pathway, a golden thread that runs through everything we do.

We can make the world a better place by creating conscious educational environments that support the whole child, mind, body, and soul. This encourages innate curiosity whereby creative problem solving can take root in a world with no clear pathway. Children today are in an in-between space of society, pushing academic acquisition and finding meaning. One of the spaces children finds purpose in is the wonders of the same awe-inspiring experiences of the natural world.

Spending time in nature reduces stress and invites the child to wonder; why are the clouds in the sky? How do leaves get their color?

Wondering may seem like a natural habit, but it is a well-curated process at the core of all great discoveries and adaptations. Unstructured time in nature is an invitation to notice wonder and create more significant ideas.

Another important aspect of spending time in nature is the connection and relationship between the natural world and the structured society that we live our lives swimming in and out of every day.

Saving the environment from further damage is one of the most important actions we can take ourselves and teach children about. However, before we can have that conversation, children must be immersed and exposed to the life force of trees, the magic of spring birds, and the delicate and subtle changes of the season. Tree hugging is essential, and if you have never hugged a tree, I highly suggest a try. You can feel the life force of the tree, the life force that cleans the air that we breathe. Let me know if you try it!

What do you wonder about? Have you noticed something in nature that has spurred a new idea? I would love to hear about your observations and experiences.




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