Just Beyond the Door
By Dexter Lane, Nature Explore Consultant
The cold temperature outside can’t keep them inside.
They want to go out, and explore
the world of nature that’s beckoning the children, from
just beyond the door.
So on go the coats and the scarves and the hats,
mittens and warm sweaters, too.
Excitement is high as the children prepare
for so many things they can do.
But before they go to their classroom outdoors
there are trees to visit and love.
They hold hands with their friends, encircling trunks;
leaves dancing down from above.
Back outside the building a count’s going on
of Paw Paw leaves left on the tree.
Excited children are jumping and shouting,
“I see one, I see two, I see three.”
Soon music is made and duets then played, on
instruments of metal and wood.
Frost is searched for and found, both on stone and on ground,
by a girl in an animal hood.
A child asks the teacher, “How cold is it now?”
A trip to the thermometer she’s earned.
No lesson-plan teaching, just questions and answers;
and that’s how temperature’s learned.
Now to get a bit warm they are starting to swarm
in the Greenhouse, where so much to do
awaits them inside- food for curious minds.
They sought out the warmth- wouldn’t you?
Pumpkins, sticks, leaves and flowers are placed on the table
begging for crayon and paper.
Drawings are shared, analyzed and compared;
then saved for taking home, later.
But the biggest attraction is found in the compost-
a thing that makes some people squirm.
It breeds learning and sharing and bonding and caring.
That thing is the common earthworm.
“I’ve found one,” he says, his hands deep in dirt,
“I’ve go one on my hand,” says she.
They’re carefully holding their dear little friends,
that they bring for their teacher to see.
Children think about beings that to others are lowly,
learning what earthworms eat, how they live.
They closely observe by touching, by seeing.
And they have so much caring to give.
But soon snack-time is here, and their snacks are indoors.
At the teacher’s announcement are squirms
of children not wanting to go back inside.
“I want to stay, feed the worms!”
Let’s reflect a moment on the richness of learning,
when Mother Nature’s the teacher.
No lessons are needed to spark children’s engagement.
Curiosity’s the dominant feature,
Of their “play,” of their sharing, exploring and caring,
both of natural things, and each other.
They explore with their friends, and consult with adults,
when the teacher is everyone’s Mother.
Then tomorrow, the next day, again and again
they’ll go into nature- explore.
Whether it’s cold or there’s sun,
so much learning and fun.
Go ahead now and open that door.