A teacher picked up an acorn off the ground and asked a group of young wide-eyed nature observers, “What is this?” “An acorn,” many of the children exclaimed. “Yes and where do acorns come from?” the teacher asked. “Trees. Acorn trees,” one child announced. “Right and what do we call acorn trees?” the teacher prompted for more information. The children paused to think for a moment until one child recalled, “An oak tree!”
The teacher proceeded to prompt the children on where pinecones and leaves comes from which also led to a conversation on what types of foods animals eat in the wild. Ideas and revelations were flourishing as we peacefully made our way through the woods.
We came to a big old tree and stopped to observe. “What’s different about this tree?” the teacher asked. One child said “There’s no bark on it.” Another child noticed, “It has lots of holes.” The children began thinking of various reasons why the holes are there. One child thought, “That’s where the leaves grow from.” Another child thought perhaps an animal made those marks. The children made many guesses as to what type of animal may have made the holes. Eventually, a child announced “A woodpecker made those holes!” which led to another discussion on how woodpeckers do indeed love to dine on insects that live in old and rotten trees, and they often use their strong beaks and relentless pecking—up to 10,000 pecks a day—to extract bugs from the wood.
“A child, more than anyone else, is a spontaneous observer of nature.”