What is it that rekindles our sense of intimacy with the earth? Why is it that children ask so many ‘why’ questions? We know how young children have a natural inquisitiveness, but somehow along the road to adulthood, this inquisitiveness gets lost, or in some cases, sadly squashed. Wondering is an inborn sense, closely connected to biophilia, children’s love of life or living systems. Children are naturally in awe of the every day miracles they find around them.
”Wondering around is the act of inquiring with generous spirit” – Seth Godin
Wonder reminds us that we are connected to all things; we are an integral part of a greater whole, one that finds its harmony, its very life source in the sum of every part. Wonder, as we engage with every bit of this ‘wonder full’ and ‘wonder filled’ natural world, with every sense, every cell of our being, is our most valuable learning tool.
“Every child is born a naturalist. His eyes are, by nature, open to the glories of the stars, the beauty of the flowers, and the mystery of life” – Ritu Ghatourey
And then we have wandering, by many perceived as an aimless waste of time. Have you got ‘wanderers’ in your centre? Children who walk around ‘aimlessly’? The children you think who are ‘bored’, who need ‘extension’, or ‘entertainment’? Do they really need this? Have you ever paused, and refrained from interfering and really looked at what these children are doing, or are needing? How many of these children are observing and listening, inquiring and imagining? How many of these children are wandering to wonder? Wandering to wonder is allowing for the discovery of beautiful moments. It’s allowing the children to lead, pause, observe and appreciate the everyday magic in their spontaneous acts of beauty, care and love, which fills up their emotional fuel tank. Letting them wander to wonder is the beginning of wisdom.
Every ece place should be engaging and empowering in such a way that the children’s natural inquisitiveness is nurtured.
Does your environment offer children a daily diet of real and natural experiences that nurture their sense of wonder? Is your environment set up so it encourages the children to wonder, to dream, to imagine? Are you providing an environment that calls to the children and sparks their curiosity? Nature will always do this, and a beautiful garden is a young child’s ultimate discovery centre.
Create an environment that is paced to allow time for just being with children, being present for what is taking place before us.
Wonder doesn’t stop though as you go indoors. The place inside also needs to be paced to allow time for wondering, for just being, observing, listening and being present for what is taking place before us. Inside should also be full of the beautiful and the inspiring, a feast for the senses, with wonder filled sights, smells, textures and sounds. A beautiful place that tells children that this is a place for dreaming, discovering and growing.
Take time to wonder, just for a moment today, that we may wonder with our children tomorrow!
And it is not just young children who have a need to wander and wonder. Every ece teacher should needs time in the day to wander around and wonder about! It is then when you really see the child in front of us. To sustain your passion you need soul nourishment and this comes from being willing to wonder. There is so much to be in awe of when we truly stop and look at the children around us.
As a heart centred teacher, the act of wondering should always be in your mind!