I’m watching Sparkly Eyes playing; it’s warm and sunny, she’s wearing flip flops and her best Christmas dress. She is singing whilst carefully moving Lego figures around a set up of stones, a slide extension and water. She is engrossed. In her imagination this all is much more; an exciting adventure is taking place.
I can’t help but wonder if this is the essence of childhood education. The space and time to play freely, to imagine great things, and to explore the outdoors.
Charlotte Mason, a well respected educationalist of the nineteenth/twentieth century asked the question “ why should children be indoors when they could be outdoors?” (paraphrase). She advocated many hours of outdoor play, exploration, nature study and just time to wonder at the beauty of creation all around. This has always sat well with me, and long before I read any of her work we would spend time outdoors every day, whatever the weather (a necessity with small boys, anyway, I think!).
I think also, for children with trauma and loss in their early years, time and space outdoors is so very healing.
It brings joy to my heart to watch her. There may be many things not accomplished from my “to do” list today, but maybe the most important is unfurling right now.
And as I’ve been writing, she’s made a bow and arrow and is waiting for Rhythm Dude to arrive home on the bus, to show her how to make arrows. Maybe we’ll read about the adventures of Robin Hood and Maid Marion tonight.