Virginia has had a very cold winter so far: many, many days the temperature is below freezing, and plenty of days in the 20′s. This has not phased The Rose Garden children, as we play in the woods! As Helle Heckman says: “There is no such thing as bad weather, there is only bad clothing!” Equipped with woolie long johns, plenty of layers, snow suits even with no snow, and snug hats and mittens, the children have flourished in the cold. “But why,” you ask, “send them out in such weather?” It is hard to convey the importance of Nature, in the development of young children.
I wrote an article that was recently published in the Winter edition of Rhythm of The Home (click on Connections) a beautiful on-line magazine that you will want to visit. These are beginning thoughts on outdoor play: ” Outdoor play offers the child the opportunity to step into the long slow rhythms of the earth. The child readily comes to know their own bodied-ness when in intimate connection to the body of the earth. Running, swinging, jumping, creeping, sliding, kneeling, splashing, digging…all of this develops familiarity with and fullness “in the body.” The child develops strength, balance, agility, grace, flexibility, competence and confidence. This kind of “body-knowing” lays a foundation for all of these qualities to permeate the child’s whole being. Years later, the young person steps into the world with these capacities intact and readily available for the challenges and joys of adult life”
Here is a little more from an article of mine to be published in the Rhythm of the Home spring issue:
“Much research has been done, observing children’s play in both natural spaces, and in “built spaces” Studies show that children engage in more creative play in green areas than in built spaces. One study observed children playing in both “vegetative rooms”, (little forts and such that he children had built themselves) and in playgrounds dominated by play structures. They observed that children playing on the formal play structures grouped themselves in hierarchical subsets, dependent upon physical abilities. Whereas the children playing in the natural vegetative rooms used more fantasy play and their social standing was based more on language skills, creativity and inventiveness”.
Language skills, creativity and inventiveness abound when children are given plenty of creative play time; time to run and frolic held in the arms of our Mother, the Earth!