Tag Archives: nature



“It takes a universe to make a child, both in outer form and inner spirit. It takes a universe to educate a child, a universe to fulfill a child.”    Thomas Berry

I have been on vacation on a tropical island in the Pacific. All I will say about it is summed up in what I overheard a woman say to her husband on the phone: “Honey, sell everything, we’re moving here”.

 I am not moving here, though one can always dream.

 But being the self admitted ECE geek that I am, I can’t help thinking ECE thoughts. And this is what I noticed….holes. Children of every age are compelled to dig holes in the sand. I watched a tiny girl not more than 11 months using her chubby little hands to scrape fistfuls of sand to examine,  taste, feel and then pat into her tiny shovel, then dump.  She repeated the process, making tiny little holes in the sand between her tiny little legs.

I watched 4 larger kids dig a hole that was 6 feet deep. It took them the better part of the day, and when it was finished they sat in it completely hidden from view.

(I have no photos of these holes. Taking pictures of OPK’s (Other People’s Kids) and posting them on the internet is a bit sketchy. I had to make due with snapping pictures in the evening when the beach diggers were done.)

 Adults are not immune to this compulsion. Dad’s and Grandpa’s seem especially drawn to digging and one can watch as the kids find other amusement and the dad and/or grandpa are still hard at it.

 Danielle and I have posted frequently about natural materials, and how The Beach Provides. What is it about sand the invites such interactions? Is it the transformation? Sand is wet, dry, hot, cold, smooth, rough, stubborn and pliable….and all of these properties can explored in one sitting (or one hole!)


One can test one’s abilities against sand, how far, how deep how high. Traces of oneself can be left, artistry and strength can be demonstrated,  but of course the sand always returns as it was when you arrived, your traces gone.

The sand asks many questions of us, invites many conversations. Holes are just one way to enter the dialogue.

Real Stuff: The Ultimate Edition

OK. All my other Real Stuff posts were trivial and tokenistic: here is the real deal on real stuff…..knives, matches, saws, fire, and freezing temperatures in a kindergarten in Norway.


Here on Vancouver Island we are not far behind. Two intrepid educators have persuaded, cajoled, educated and enlightened enough policy makers that a nature kindergarten will begin it’s first class in September.

Here’s to the REAL real stuff!


The Wet Coast

 The West Coast of Canada has many nicknames The Wet coast and the Grey Coast. This morning I woke up and it was pouring rain, it was grey and cold. So Helaina and I got her morning almond milk and my morning coffee and we went back to my bed, turned on the tv watched What Not to Wear and had a cuddle.

For some (sadly most) the story might end there for a rainy day. For us it did not. We got our clothes on rubber boots and all and headed outside and found some puddles to jump. Here is the thing Helaina has taught me about rain. Children find rain joyful and they don’t see it as a roadblock to life like adults do. Helaina and I have gone for a walk everyday since she started walking. A short walk usually a block. Helaina takes her time and at  some point during the walk   asks to be picked up. The first time we went for a walk in the rain, totally different story.  She couldn’t stop laughing, she ran, our walk was longer  and I never had to pick her up.

Rain funnily enough actually makes me miss my life in preschool.  The preschool program started outside every day rain or shine. We didn’t have the greatest playyard, in fact most of the early years staff despised it but on rainy days it was awesome. Water pooled and collected in various places. Gutters leaked and streams of water poured down.

Water pooling behind the sandbox.childen playing in a mudpuddle.
a child putting his foot over the stream running through the playground.


A child letting a stream of water fall on her head.



 Have you played in the rain today?