“Solicitous care for living things affords satisfaction to one of the most lively instincts of the child’s mind. Nothing is better calculated than this to awaken an attitude of foresight.
Maria Montessori was primarily a city dweller. She was born in Rome and opened her very first school in Rome, but ended up living all over the world as she struggled to protect her work from political upheaval during both World Wars. Her urban lifestyle, however, didn’t inhibit her from developing a great appreciation for the value of all living things, and a deep understanding of how they coexist on our planet in a highly complex web of life. She viewed every living thing as having a purpose – a “cosmic task”, in her words. The cosmic task of humans, in her estimation, was to care for everything else. We humans carry around a brain so big and so highly developed that we can choose our actions. We can choose to be stewards of the planet or not.
For a young child, the first step toward becoming a steward of the environment is simply to connect with life, to be given time to hold a worm, or look at a spider, or smell some lavender, or help fill a bird feeder. Time is one requirement for children, and a friendly adult is another. Having a grown-up who is willing to hold a worm, or point out the fragrance of a flower helps tremendously.
Developing an environment that affords children those opportunities is one of the reasons for our Earth Week. We want to place our strong support beneath each child’s natural curiosity and openness, providing a prepared environment in which they can safely explore. They are too young to confront global climate change in any meaningful way, even though any changes that occur will affect their lives more than ours. They must be protected from fear that the rainforest is disappearing at an alarming rate. It’s difficult for adults to know what to do about that, let alone children.
So – in order to maximize opportunities to connect with nature for our children, we ask your help during the week of May 14 – 18, which we are calling Earth Week at Children’s Garden. Children are attracted to beauty, as we all are, and watering purple pansies will strenghten their love of the earth, as will planting, harvesting and cooking beets from their own raised-bed vegetable gardens. Those experiences will help with connection, so that when they are old enough to do more, their activist will be built on firsthand knowledge of the earth.
At each gate there are lists of plants and supplies we need during Earth Week. We invite you to either come spend time with your child next week to help us spruce up our gardens, or, if you’re not able to join us, we would appreciate your contribution of flowers or supplies. Although we don’t need us schedule a particular time to come, if your child would not be happy being left at school when you leave, please plan to come late in the school day, or take your child with you. Thank you for all your help!!!