Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Perks of a Play-in-the-Mud Educational Philosophy (Contribution by Bill Martin)

Click here for Article

This first sentence grabbed my attention, held it up and shook it.
““Most American kids don’t spend large chunks of their day catching salamanders and poking sticks into piles of fox poop.”

The way I grew up during WWII, I stayed with relatives on the prairie farms and ranches of Nebraska.  Close to the earth.  Learning about horses, cattle, chickens, ducks and pigs, wheat, rye and barley from a very early age.  The last 7 of which usually ended up on our dinner plates.  Horses were used for plowing because gas was rationed or hard to get to put into tractors.  At one point, we journeyed into town for supplies in a horse-drawn, flatbed wagon.  Family dogs lived in little houses next to the house and were a siren alarm if something strange happened, were the hunters, guides, and protectors for family members.  They didnʻt EVER come in the house and certainly didnʻt sleep in our beds with us.  Things have changed in that regard, thankfully.

In a different scenario, I lived with my grandfather in the Black Hills of South Dakota where I was introduced to methods of geology and gold mining, to members and children of the Oglala Lakota, and tramping on mostly forgotten pioneer trails to the cabins of nearly forgotten “old-timers” who my grandfather knew.

I had an education in and out of the classroom.  Schools didnʻt teach what I learned from being “close to the earth” and how animals lived and moved around in the wilderness AND the farm/ranch. I saw baby animals being fertilized and born and knew about the “birds and the bees” long before I even started school.

As an adult, I became a licensed operator of a sailboat for hire.  I took children and teachers out on a working sailing vessel and showed them not only the handling of the “ship” but marine life under their feet and up close and personal.  Fish, whales, dolphins, sea otters, seabirds and their nesting areas.  The ways of wind and water.

WHY shouldnʻt preschoolers spend their day, or even PART of their day finding snails and minnows in a pond, seashells by the seashore, on a forest trail, or out on the prairie spying on Prairie Dogs? Touring a working ranch or farm?  Spending a day in a wilderness park with the people who live and work there?
Close to the earth rather than pictures in a book?
Learning about the world they will inherit and make changes to save it.

Learn about their world first-hand?
This is an eye-opening read about educating our next generation.

Contribution by: Bill Martin

No comments: