I've taught both in rural and urban schools and as I live in the country, near a riverside, woodland and farmland I'm still saddened to meet Y6 children in schools who've never been in woodland or seen a cow! (yes, really). Milk comes from the supermarket (I was told this all too recently by a bright 9 year old).
We need to get children outside and back in touch with nature. We take it for granted but for some children, it is something they just do not get enough of! It is liberating, thought provoking and enlightening.
We often bemoan the screentime children get and this was brought home to me today when a child asked me: “How did you cope before the internet?”
A response came for another child before I had the chance to reply, “He probably went outside.” This was met by hilarity, as though leaving the house to play was the maddest idea ever.
These children have a gorgeous rural setting, look…
Many years ago, in the dim and distant past, I would take an annual school visit to a village in the country, which was a new experience for many at the time being city dwellers. From where we based ourselves we were 5 minutes’ walk to woodland, 10 seconds to a field and 5 minutes to the river. "Wow! I've never been in a forest!" exclaimed *Kathy*, Y5, and it was only a small woodland but she was in another world.
The farmer took children around the farm yard to see crops, both growing and harvested, the machinery and animals. They were always fascinated and talked about it for ages afterwards, it is such a positive experience for them. Not least watching the sizable bull stare them down… in their bright red sweatshirts!
Every year the trip was successful, every year the children and parents thanked me and every year I tried to do it again.
It’s important for children to reconnect with nature, which is why I want to launch a “Bring Back the Nature Table” campaign.
I want to see one in every primary school and for children and adults alike to start investigating the amazing things nature shares with us – every season has its joys, but where better to start than Autumn?
So, come on leaf gatherers, cloud sculptors, fungi finders, feather fetchers and photo takers. Pine cone hunters and bark bringers unite and ignite the flame of natural curiosity under your children from 5-18!
Use every media, from the real object to the recorded to inspire... it was my Nan who taught me to love a cloud sculpture!
100% GENUINE - I took it!
Share your nature table on Twitter @WatsEd #naturetable