Monday, July 18, 2016

Enjoying the Outdoors with Infants


Going outside with infants can be one of the most rewarding times of day.

Everything seems to slow as they enter our yard, finding their own way as much as possible, and then their endless fascination with the sights and sounds outside are inspiring.

Getting outside is the first part of the experience. We encourage self-mobile infants to move as much as they can outside.  This might mean crawling from the classroom to the front door one day, slowly working towards navigating the stairs on their own. By allowing children to choose when their ready and how they want to move, they are already taking ownership over how they interact with our outdoor environment.  This is an idea which we will constantly be supporting through all of their interactions at Tumbleweed.
Once we are outside it is as if time slows to a stand-still.  The children's attention is constantly caught by the wind blowing across their skin, the leaves rustling near them, the bright colors of the flowers, and the sounds of the birds and insects.  It can be so easy to want to rush this moment, talking and pointing out all they are noticing.  When we give them a moment to first absorb all they are hearing-seeing-feeling then wait for them to turn back to us we can share in this moment.  "You heard a crow!  It's above us in the tree!" or "You noticed the zinnia.  It is bright pink.  You touched it so gently!" I can almost turn into a meditation of sorts when we follow the child's attention.  It requires being present and ready to support their safety in navigating new terrain, while sharing in the wonder of our beautiful world. 

When we approach the natural world from the wonder of an infant, we are almost reborn into the newness that they are experiencing.  It is a refreshing and unique experience they are sharing with us, and that we get to support, by slowing down, making space for choice, and connecting.

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