The Harvest Moon
By Rose Brusaferro
“For the child… it is not half so important to know as to feel.” – Rachel Carson
We used September to get settled in; Fireflies, Ferns, Luna Moths, Mayapples, Wooly Bears, and Snails are now inaugurated into a close-knit Nature Preschool family. We’ve played away the jitters of starting school, and now we’re building bonds with each other and the land at Irvine.
October brings conversations and observations of changes. Changing temperatures, changing colors, changing animals, changing daylight hours, and so on. We visited the new wetland area, opened up black walnuts, danced with colored scarves, made rainbows out of leaves, blew wishes onto dandelions, saw live animals up close, sang songs, drew pictures, climbed trees, practiced the letter “L”, and so much more! We learned about Fall treasures like pumpkins, gourds, and apples. That tied in with talking about the Autumn harvest. And to top it off we invited our families to join us on a harvest hike and take a hayride in Mr. Wally’s wagon!
Last month the International School Grounds Alliance published a declaration that reminded me of something. They say there are a handful of things children can only learn through experience:
- One’s own abilities and limitations
- Self-confidence to push those boundaries
The beauty of Nature Preschool is that we focus on nurturing the innate curiosity of our children. We provide the setting and nature provides the lessons, with children directing their own experiences. Where should I put my feet when I’m climbing this tree? How many sticks will I need to gather before the lean-to is finished being built? Am I comfortable touching the corn snake that visited our class? How high up this tree can I go while still being able to get down on my own, and will I go higher next time?
I’ve heard that experience is the best teacher. I’ve read plenty of studies too, but the most impactful evidence is to see it in action. Every day at Nature Preschool we have so many rich experiences with our classes. Our children are learning quickly. I can’t help but daydream about where their development will be in the Winter, then in the Spring, and how much they’ll change over the Summer.
But for now let’s continue to enjoy the moments Fall brings: layering up our clothes, playing outside, laughing at the top of our lungs, and getting messy in typical Nature Preschool fashion.