At 9 weeks post partum, I’m beginning to think about going back to work. I’m so thankful to have this special time with our new son and have been cherishing every busy minute. But I will return to work (work outside the home, that is) after thanksgiving, and I’m beginning to look forward to it.
Babies do not give you long stretches of interrupted time, so I’m committing to writing shorter posts but more often. For the next few weeks, I’m going to try to pull from education books that I’ve read and share quotes or key ideas that have influenced my teaching or thinking.
#1. Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv
I read this probably 5 years ago, but it still sits on my shelf and definitely influences how I feel about kids and nature. My number one takeaway? Teach kids to love being in nature. Whenever we have service learning pulling ivy, or a class visit to the wetlands, it can feel like work. They need time to play and explore, get muddy and laugh.
Louv talks about “useful boredom” (p.62) when kids sit in a car staring out the window, noticing everything out there. Now that I’m a parent, I definitely understand the desire to keep a child constantly occupied, lest they fuss or cry.
He also emphasizes the need to teach about the environment, not just its problems (p.134), because who wants to just think about all the bad things? That’s not the way to get kids to care. I suppose this applies to more than just nature – if you always approach topics from a sad, “problem” kind of outlook, kids will disassociate.
There are obviously lots more lessons in this book and maybe I’ll go back and read it sometime, but these are the thoughts that have stayed with me.