One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.  William Shakespeare

You didn’t come into this world.  You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.  You  are not a stranger here.  Alan Watts

We inter-breath with the rain  forests, we drink from the oceans.  They  are part of our own body.  Thich Nhat Hanh

Children are fascinated and awe inspired by nature, its beauty, is vastness, and its magical powers. Children want to get close to the Earth, to be dirty, to be wet, to feel the sun and to stop and smell the roses. Children feel that spiritual connection to Earth on a much deeper level than do adults and know it calls to them. I teach the children through various Centerings about how we are so deeply connected the Earth because everything we see in the Earth can also be seen within us. I begin these lessons by first handing each child an item from nature. Then the children are asked to think of how they are like that item. We then build an altar with these gifts from nature while sharing how we are like the gift. For the following Centering, I read the book, All I See is Part of Me and we discuss its lessons. We then follow up with a movement Centering that takes place outside. I tell the kids that when they move the Earth moves with them and movement is but one way to communicate with the Earth. The children then choose a being from nature, come up with a movement inspired by that being and then express something like this, “I am the flower because I am full of color!” Throughout the year, I reinforce these ideas. For example, every time I hear a child say something like, “That flower is beautiful!” I say, “I see the flowers beauty in you too!”

These types of Centerings engage the children in such a way that they are able to look at nature differently. If they can make the connection that what makes a pine cone a pine cone is also what makes them who they are, then, a sense of appreciation and protection of that pine cone and thus the tree will then live inside of them. Teaching like this will nurture nature-child relationships that will ultimately lead to stewardship practices and conservation efforts. This is how we bring about change- through relationships and connection.

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