Many of us value teaching children about appreciation. But what is the best way to teach them without making it seem like a chore? We want to make sure they don’t take things for granted… simply put them in nature and let them learn!
In this article, I’ll explain why nature is ideal for teaching children about appreciation.
Where we live…
First of all, we live on the
wet west coast of Canada where rainforests still exist. As you can imagine, we have A LOT of rain. Luckily, not much snow. That makes it a perfect place for a nature-focused program.
Whether rain or shine, snow or wind, we spent the mornings outside. Some days were harder during the winter months, but we all learned to appreciate what we had.
I’ll share some insights now, so you can see why nature is beneficial for children’s learning. Whatever you want to teach or learn, it has the answers!
Why nature? Teaching children about appreciation
Although we layered ourselves, snowy days were hard on their little bodies. One day I had a couple of children who were wearing rubber boots. Have you ever worn them without thick insulation? I have, and they are the worst in snow.
Despite all the fun activities, the children started crying. When a couple of kids start crying, you know what happens, right? Yes, others joined, so we decided to go inside a building where it was nicely heated.
Even the main entrance of the arena was like a cozy room with a fireplace. When we washed our hands with warm water, the kids smiled – an instant relief.
What was the appreciation?
The warmth in the building and water for washing our hands! Just imagine that we had to wash our hands with ice-cold water outside!
Even as simple as having a table for a snack seemed like something special. What is one of the hardest things children can do? – sit still. As you can imagine, having a container on an uneven surface like their lap leads to disaster.
While some kids were easy about cleaning their food and eating, others immediately shut down. Over time, kids learned to choose somewhere flat to place their snacks.
What did we learn?
Something ordinary like a table was special for eating and doing some art! We only noticed when we didn’t have what we needed.
Most importantly, we appreciated what we had in nature. It meant unlimited imagination and exploration! Although children couldn’t articulate their feelings of appreciation, we could tell how happy they were to have the freedom to learn in nature.
Children had all different areas of curiosity, and nature certainly accommodated their needs. It helped them gain life skills in a nurturing environment.
For many of us, nature seemed ordinary. Once we stepped inside and connected to our nature friends, we saw many attributes: beauty, compassion, life, and much more! Many things we couldn’t learn anywhere else.
What was the intake?
Simplicity in nature was something we appreciated the most! As you know, there was no extra stuff like a comfy bed in nature. So we learned how to appreciate what we had both in nature and at home.
I always reflect on what I learned as a child that would be beneficial for my children. All those rich experiences including the fear of sinking into the bottomless mud pit, I learned so much.
Just think about the moment when you had fun as a young child. Where were you? Did it feel like you were forced to learn? That will give you a clue!
You may already know Reggio Emillia’s Approach, “the environment as an educator”, so you can choose a teacher depending on what you want your children to learn.
So, what you can do is go for a walk or even better, go CAMPING to be thankful for what we have!
At last, you know why I believe nature is the best place for teaching children about appreciation.