By W. George Scarlett
Image © kichigin19/ Adobe Stock
To know nature can be through touching, smelling, seeing – in short, through sensing. But when creatures in nature aren’t present, then to know can be through representing with symbols. Words and numbers are symbols for knowing (the word frog, the number 2 for how many legs), but almost any medium can provide the means to create symbols for knowing. As indicated in the accompanying curriculum for children, we can wiggle like algae wiggling in a pond. Wiggling then becomes not only a symbol but also a way to connect, know, and maybe even care about algae in a pond.
Widening our understanding of how symbols can appear in a variety of media puts us in a better position to support young children’s connecting, knowing, and caring for nature. It gives us a rich pallet to draw from and helps us avoid the ever-dangerous habit of talking at children. So, by all means, wiggle, scribble and maybe even nibble (like a squirrel!) – all to help children, connect to, know, and care for nature.