Saturday, April 28, 2018

Spring Education

Study in our bulb garden

"Science but increases the mystery of the unknown and enlarges the boundaries of the spiritual vision.  To feel that one is a useful and co-operating part in nature is to give one kinship, and to open the mind to the great resources and the high enthusiasms.  Here arise the fundamental common relations.  Here arise also the great emotions and conceptions of sublimity and grandeur, of majesty and awe, the uplift of vast desires,--when one contemplates the earth and the universe and desires to take them into the soul and to express oneself in their terms; and here also the responsible practices of life take root."  

--Liberty Hyde Bailey, The Holy Earth

Running on the trail

Writing in Writer's Notebook

It's spring and we are back to running every morning on the trail!  Our bulb garden is up!  The spring peepers and the red-winged blackbirds are singing!  The bird feeders are emptying at an incredible pace.  There are signs of life everywhere!  My class and I are turning our minds toward the season of spring and looking toward that amazing summer break that promises barefeet in the warm sand and lazy bike rides down the Kal-Haven trail.  It makes it a bit hard to stay inside.  

This past week, we celebrated Earth Day.  We picked up garbage on our campus and wandered over to the middle school to clean up their campus as well.  We learned how to make recycled paper (paper we will use for a special writing project in May).  We picked daffodils in the "hidden garden" (a huge patch in the woods) and we studied our own bulb garden.  I shared some of my favorite Earth inspired books (Dear Children of the Earth, The Other Way to Listen, Just a Dream, and Whisper from the Woods).  
Mother to Mother image found in Dear Children of the Earth
Written and Illustrated by Schim Schimmel
The above picture is from one of my favorite pages in Dear Children of the Earth.  The book is written as a letter from Mother Earth to us.  On this page, Mother Earth says,
 " . . . I need your help.  And the animals need your help, too.  "But Mother Earth," you ask, "how can I help you and all my sister and brother animals when you are so big, and I am so small?"  Well, my children, let me tell you something, I am not so big.  As a matter of fact, I am quite small.  When you go outside at night and look up at all the millions and millions of stars, you will see how small I really am.  Compared to the night sky, I am no bigger than you!"
What a powerful image.  The story continues by asking the children what they think is the most important thing they can do to help her (at this point students have all kinds of ideas).  The response is simple . . .
"I need you to love me.  That's all.  Just love me as much as I love you.  Because when you love me, you will care for me.  And when you care for me, you will protect me.  And when you care for me and protect me, you will save your Home, and the homes of your sister and brother animals."
 My students wrote letters back to Mother Earth after this inspiring and beautiful book.   They did a wonderful job and the letters were filled with love.  I was so pleased.

Cover and letter written to Mother Earth

"...when one contemplates the earth and the universe and desires to take them into the soul and to express oneself in their terms . . . the responsible practices of life take root."
I am reminded that education is more than facts, it's an emotional relationship.  Happy spring everyone!