Do you remember when you were a child, and the world was amazing? Every bug and every tree held magical powers. You could be anyone, do anything or go anywhere. Flowers became potions, tree trunks dungeons and there was definitely a troll under every bridge. But we couldn’t wait to grow up. We were going to eat ice cream for breakfast and not have to go to bed at 7.30! How amazing that world was going to be.
Then, one day, we grew up, and guess what? We don’t really care about eating ice cream for breakfast and sometimes we actually want to go to bed at 7.30.
The world we dreamed for wasn’t that exciting. It came with lots of challenges and grown up thinking and slowly we began to forget about the trolls under the bridges and princesses locked in towers.
For a lot of people, somewhere in the process of growing up, we lost our spark. We lost the curiosity that used to turn every day into a wonderland. In the words of Antoine De Saint-Exupery “All grownups were once children first. But few of them remember it.” As adults, we need to remember the joy of being curious little beings and looking at the world in new ways.
If we want kids to be curious, we have to model how to be curious ourselves. When we are standing back, watching and observing, ticking boxes and writing notes, we don’t show children what being curious looks like. When we participate, get in there tracking birds, staring into holes, wondering where on earth this feather came from, that spark jumps from us to a child. A game is so much more engaging when adults want to play too! An adventure just more enticing when we show children that we can’t wait to come along. It’s important that children are not just telling us stories about their day, but we are living those stories alongside them.
Nature Connection at Perth College
Our Nature Connection Series with Perth College has been just as much about engaging teachers as it has been about engaging students. We’ve opened teachers’ eyes to the beautiful world around them. In turn, they have been able to connect more deeply with the students in their class. Throughout the series, they’ve learned, experienced and created alongside their students. In doing so, there has been a deeper level of joy in the experience. Teachers have joined in celebrating the wonders of the natural environment. They have sat in trees, held jellyfish and pretended to be eagles. Students have gained trust from teachers’ actions, allowing themselves to feel safe in the outside space. This then led to the confidence to explore, take risks and ask questions.
Being a grown up doesn’t mean that we can’t climb trees and search for trolls. In fact, it makes for richer experiences with the children in our lives. When we surrender the grown up world for a minute and explore it instead with curiosity, we enrich not only our own life but the lives of the children around us.