Friday, 4 May 2012

the wonder of very small things

Small, teeny, tiny things... there's so much amazing detail to be found when you peer into nooks and crannies in old walls, look into moss, gaze closely at bark... 


I've always been drawn to the small things - especially when they can be in danger of being missed.  You could so easily step on moss (or see it as something to eradicate from your path) without ever stopping to see the wondrous worlds contained within it.


I know that it's not just me who adores looking at the smallest of details in nature, the children I work with will constantly find things and want to show me their discoveries.  

Children need time to spend hunting for things - and adults who will look with them and share their delights in the things they find.  Children find amazement in a small patch of earth if they are given the opportunity.  They also will show huge respect for the small things they find - but often crucial in this for many children is the role of an adult who will look with the children and also delight in the patterns on a spiders web or the tiny millipede curled up in the soil.

When peeling willow sticks recently one of the year 2 class at Dunkirk found the most minuscule creature under the bark and she was intrigued by the tiny holes on the branch too.  She came across several signs of this - and on several different occasions (another reason why re-visiting activities and places is so important).  She's fascinated and has gone off to look up the creatures and try and discover what they are.

Mini-beasts hold a deep fascination for children and for many are their real and sustained first-hand contact with living creatures.  Mini-beasts are such wonderful shapes and colours and behave in unusual ways; I've known children spend hours watching them - sometimes talking endlessly about what they are observing and also offering many hypotheses about the lives of the insects.  Other children might watch very silently for a long time and be lost in their thoughts as they observe.  Children often want to make homes for mini-beasts and they also often want to "collect" them when outside - which gives so many opportunities for brilliant ways to explore empathy and care.  Again, though, this really needs constant opportunities to be exploring outside, with adults who share this ethos.

Today, when peeling sticks, a child excitedly brought me this piece of willow bark - totally fascinated by the teeny fibre strands that were clearly visible.

And - its not just tiny things you find that can capture you.  Making your own smallest of things is really important...  

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