by Heather Fox, Education Specialist, Dimensions Educational Research Foundation and Nature Explore
As I sit here at my computer my fingers tap the plastic lettered keys of my laptop. I drink filtered water from an aluminum bottle and my cell phone, covered in a purple, rubberized casing, is never too far from me. It seems the only “real-life” item I have touched since 8am this morning is the hand of my sweet seven-year-old daughter while walking her to school.
This is shocking because, like so many of you, I’m a nature lover. I also spend several hours of my day talking, writing and thinking about ways to incorporate nature into the lives of our children.
In her book Heart-Centered Teaching Inspired by Nature, Nancy Rosenow asks the question, “How can we help children discover nature’s gifts of joy and wonder if we rarely delight in those gifts ourselves?” She encourages us as teachers and caregivers to spend time each day cultivating our own “inner gardens” because by doing so we are more present and alive in our work with children.
For me, part of cultivating my inner garden means spending physical time in nature. It means running my hands through an evergreen tree or tapping the dew off the leaves of my rosebush. It means digging my hands into the soil or walking barefoot in the sand. So in my quest to help children connect more fully with nature I plan to do so myself. (Pardon me while I stop to smell the pine needles on my way to work tomorrow morning.)
I’m also sharing Heart-Centered Teaching Inspired by Nature with friends and colleagues every chance I get. It is a quick and inspiring read that I reference often when feeling that occasional low-energy pull of the day warring on me. In the spirit of sharing and giving, I invite you to post a response answering the question, How do you cultivate your own “inner garden”? All responses received by October 4th will be entered into a drawing for one free copy of Rosenow’s book.