As adults, we all have fond and emotional memories deep within us from our early childhood experiences. Most of us can recall intense relationships with other living things: favorite animals we had and loved, open fields, wild flowers growing on a mountain side, or perhaps the sound of a fresh water stream trickling down the rocks and falling into a lake. Whatever the experience, it renews our ability to perceive as a child; the ability to draw upon those senses and translate the memories. We become aware of living and non-living very early in life. These concepts were deep-rooted seeds that were sown years ago.

The child is very sensitive to his natural surroundings. His absorbent mind is taking in all that his senses contact: the smell, feel, taste, sound, and sight that nature provides. HIs sensitive periods guide his absorbent mind in the ordering of these impressions. They urge him to move within the environment to learn, grasp, feel and know his world. In response to this natural urge, we must encourage the child to really look and listen as an observer, which will train his senses, enhance his concentration and help him gain self-control. We adults must not interfere with the experience or hurry the child along. He needs time to be thoughtful and receptive to digest what he is experiencing.

Children are born with a sense of wonder. It’s often easier to explain what’s happening or what we see. Instead, try saying, “ I wonder why …” and leave it at that, allowing the child to reach for answers and draw his own conclusions. Measure what information to give the child a based on his level of maturity. And if he asks for an explanation, and you aren’t sure of the answer, look for it with the child. Avoid excessive labeling, however always give the correct name (e.g. “rabbit”, not “bunny”). The language itself will give the child a sense of permanence.

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