Skip to content


Book Review: Over and Under the Pond

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Pond Life

Review by Hailey Swett, book by Kate Messner with art by Christopher Silas Neal | Ponds: what lovely and lively ecosystems! What child doesn’t love exploring a pond, searching for critters big and small? In her picture book Over and Under the Pond, Kate Messner takes young readers on a journey of exploration through a pond, all from the comfort of their homes.

When Nature Seems ‘Cruel’

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Pond Life

By W. George Scarlett | Bugs sucking the blood of other bugs, hawks grabbing and tearing apart squirrels, coyotes howling after a kill – if ever someone gets sentimental about nature and speaks only of nature’s wonders, that person has missed something central about nature, namely, that nature works on a different ethic than that of most humans.

Waterbug Poem

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Pond Life

By W. George Scarlett | Waterbug, waterbug, always gliding / Never sinking, always sliding…

Moving with Pond Life

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Pond Life

By Layla Sastry | The following is an exercise that can be used with younger and older children to help them connect to and know life in and around ponds.

To Know is to Wiggle

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Pond Life

By W. George Scarlett | To know nature can be through touching, smelling, seeing – in short, through sensing.

Poop in the Sandpit

By Zhou Jiang and Ting Zhang | By Children in urban kindergartens lack opportunities to get close to nature. But with help from teachers, getting close to nature can still happen – as the following story illustrates. The story is about a kindergarten in the West Lake District, Hangzhou City, where poop in the sandpit inspired a class of 4–5-year-old children to explore their relationship with a cat.

The Chef’s Special Dough

By W. George Scarlett | I have sometimes wondered how came the stars, not to mention the moon and Mars. Are they someone’s leftover Christmas tree snow? Or perhaps they are mothballs – I really don’t know.

When Nature is the Classroom

By Amy and Dan Warren | Our son, Lio, hops in the car at the end of a cold and damp school day. Rosy-cheeked and smeared with earth and ash from fort-building and fire-making, he reaches down to take off his boots and empty them of leaves, water, and mud. His pockets carry the day’s found treasures: Quartz rocks, cool sticks that double as swords, acorns with their cupule caps carefully removed. He tells us about playing in the stream, falling in, and then warming up by the fire. The cold and wet, and the restorative warmth of fire, are intimate experiences for Lio, part of his personal history. Consequences—the interplay of these experiences—are naturally rooted in the context, and so they are predictable and seemingly just. So too is his personal efficacy, as he navigates the context: The warmth of the fire he helped to make, and his regained comfort, signal his effectiveness. He is but a part of a whole system called Nature.