“If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it. Perhaps this is what Thoreau had in mind when he said, “the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of human beings.”
David Sobel, Beyond Ecophobia
As I write this article there is snow on the ground, warm jackets on the hooks of our students and wet boots drying near their cubbies. Winter at The Learning Center. The kids are delighted to play in the snow. Yet, even snow covered some of our kids asks to check the garden. Perfect timing! It’s time to start sprouting the seeds we gathered from the garden in the fall.
This ritual that we have at The Learning Center serves so many purposes. Of course, it enhances the understanding of life cycles, the science of plants and helps them practice the difficult job of waiting for the seed to sprout. But the biggest and most favorite is that our kids love the fun and responsibility in preparing our garden for Camp Teva. For those kids returning you can hear them boast to the younger kids about how tall the sunflowers got or how many tomatoes they picked. Peer group pressure at three, four and five can be so motivating. Now the younger kids want to start planting as well for Camp Teva.
At Camp Teva after the sunscreen is applied being outside includes other activities as well. Catching frogs and then releasing them back to their families, playing in the sand, all kinds of sports exploration, eating special treats under the trees, discovering new art materials, running through sprinklers are all part of the regular routine at Camp Teva. Our goal is to send our campers’ home messy and tired. The sign of a day well spent! Enrollment has begun so spread the word.