By RoseMary Antony
Growing up in the Middle East I never had many opportunities to explore the outdoors due to harsh desert weather. As I grew up, adapting to indoor life became a part of me and my comfort zone. When I reached B.C, I was blown away by the endless outdoor adventure possibilities. This picture is from my daily walk to Buttertubs Marsh in Nanaimo.
I love listening and using my auditory skills, be it listening to people, music or the sound of crashing waves at the beach, or distant wind chimes on a windy day. One of the first things I did during my early Fall walk at Buttertubs Marsh was to pause, close my eyes and listen. I could hear the frogs croak, ducks splashing and quacking in the water, lizards and small creatures scurrying across tall grass, insects buzzing around my ears, the soft leaves swaying as the gentle breeze blew, all this while feeling the bright sun on my face.
I slowly opened my eyes and looked around to make myself aware of my surroundings again. The Early Learning Framework reminds me that, “Learning is not an individual act but happens in relationship with people, materials, and place” (Government of BC, 2019, p.65). Since spending quality time outside is a relatively new concept for me, I am equally curious and amazed by the novelty of nature and excited to collaborate and engage in reciprocal learning with children.
In A Pedagogy of Ecology, Ann Pelo (n.d.) discusses the significance of developing an ecological identity. She writes, “To foster a love for a place we must engage our bodies and our hearts – as well as our minds – in a specific place” (Pelo, n.d.). As a teacher/researcher, I am inspired by this idea, and wonder what it feels/looks/sounds like to respectfully explore a place with young children. How might children lead us when it comes to exploring the great outdoors? Which paths might become visible? What meaningful experiences could be magnified?
Government of British Columbia. (2019). British Columbia early learning framework (2nd ed.). Victoria: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Children and Family Development, & British Columbia Early Learning Advisory Group. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/early-learning/teach/early-learning-framework
Pelo, A. (n.d.). Rethinking Schools. A pedagogy for ecology. https://rethinkingschools.org/articles/a-pedagogy-for-ecology/