“Wherever he saw a hole he always wanted
to know the depth of it. To him this was important.”
― Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth
I was recently at my 8 year old son’s baseball game. In front of where I was sitting was a rather large hole, 10-12 inches in diameter and quite deep. I noticed the hole when I almost stepped in it. Many of the adults around me also noticed the hole. There were murmurs of safety concerns coming from various adults.
Playing around the bleachers was a group of young children, siblings of the baseball players. They soon discovered the hole. They were all instantly drawn to the hole. Soon a collective exploration started to take place among the children, whose ages ranged from 1-5 years old. They started filling the hole with various natural items including sticks, grass, and dandelions. They worked as a team adding items to fill the hole. At one point a young boy started putting dried leaves in the hole. An older girl said “no, we don’t put leaves in the hole” and thus started classifying what nature items could or could not go in the hole. The child were engaged with the hole for the rest of the baseball game.
To the adults, the hole was a safety hazard, to the children it was a chance to interact with nature. They were engaged with nature, a level of engagement we teachers search for. Next time you are outside, notice what your children are doing. What part of nature is fascinating to them? How can you facilitated their exploration? So next time you see a hole, look at it through the eyes of a child.
photo by Jacki Leader