Monday, 2 December 2013

Nature Study 1: To the garden, to the garden, we are walking down....

It’s been raining since yesterday.  It’s hard to keep my little one inside the house for hours. She started asking for an outside walk.

Whenever she is bored, she would ask, “ Amma, Shall we go for a walk?” .  When we step out from our house, we would sing, “To the garden, to the garden, we are walking down”. One of her favorite songs.  If we go to the river bank, it will start like this, “To the River, to the river we are walking down.  In the river you can see…”

In Charlotte Mason approach, nature study is the base for science, math, art and language.  As per Charlotte Mason, a child has to spend several hours outside every week for nature study.

I have been taking my child outside since she was 10 months old.   Believe me; she started telling the names of most of the flowers, trees, vegetables and birds available in our place by 3 years old.  I don’t believe in flash cards for teaching kids.  Nature study is the best way to introduce our environment.  For nature study, you can take your child to anywhere like, river, pond, beach, Neighborhood Street, farm fields…etc. Even when we go out on bike ride with my hubby, whenever we see something new to my child, we’ll stop there; spend few minutes for our child to observe it.  That’s how she was introduced to goose, ducks, donkeys, pigs, king fisher……  

Back to the story.  So, when there was a slight gap in the rainfall, we had a walk around our backyard. My father is maintaining a coconut grove with a wonderful garden. Though it is not a well organized one, you can find almost all the common fruit trees of TamilNadu that includes banana, guava, Mango, Jack fruit, Lemon, Mosambi (Sweet lime), pomegranate and other trees like coconut, goose berries, Teak wood, Eucalyptus…..  From this garden only my daughter learnt the names of flowers like jasmine, Hibiscus, Rose, Oleander, Periwinkle, chrysanthemum, 4’o clock, cosmos,Mary gold, zinnia, Thunbergia (King's mantle), Clittoria (butterfly pea)…

Today’s task was to collect the flowers she would see on her way. She grabbed her magnifier and a bag for collecting flowers. During the nature study, the child has to lead. She has to see the beauty of nature. She has to hear the birds' sound. She has to touch and feel the different texture.She has to observe,learn and explore. So i just followed her.

Watching the Ant colony; “What will happen, if the rain water goes inside. Shall we cover the hole?”

“Amma, Pumpkin is a creeper. Why it is climbing?”

“Spiral shape”

“Touch me not.  Where’s that ‘Horton’ Flower? See the millipede" 

Running to pluck periwinkle

 Naming the flowers

“Nature [is] the greatest of all teachers” 

 “Children should be surrounded with the things of nature which have their own educational value.”
                                                                                                                          -  Rabindranath Tagore