Friends with Nature
Community, School Age and Early Age Education
Infant Education (Ages 0 - )
Natural Learning Curriculum
From Landscape to Language
Early Age Education (0-5)
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comes and goes
by Michelle Galvez,
We are a community to the extent that we share common ground. Nature is the
common ground that surrounds us. Nature is also the common ground that we
carry inside us. Friends with Nature is curriculum that actively engages
learners in observing and exploring the nature within and without.
and impact. Attention directed to the natural world particularly include the wild
and native plants and animals that are also a part of our community. Objectives
are to expand awareness of what it means to be a friend, of what it means to be
in a community and to engender, especially in the earliest learners, a sense of
reciprocity and responsible environmental stewardship.
How does literacy begin?
Our earliest ancestors looked into the natural world for signs that would give
them information about what had happened in the past and to predict what might
happen in the future. Survival depended on it. Needing to share information,
they began by copying lines and shapes found within the natural landscape to
make the marks and maps which became the first alphabets. Literacy is about
communication: it is about “speaking” and “listening” through the use of marks
or representations. As civilization became more complex the ancient alphabets,
which depicted real things, developed into letters which stood for sounds.
Early age learners are naturally very curious about the world of real things.
Landscape to Language directs learners to follow with brush, pencil and pen,
the horizontal, vertical and spiraling lines we see in nature. Landscape to
Language associates the tools of literacy and fine motor development with an
engaged imagination, self expression, and a confident use of voice and hand.
If we reframe the question - from what is it that infants learn, to - how is it that
they learn, our attention becomes focused on process. Infancy is a process of
patterned movements emerging in response to gravity and the pull of sensory
perception. So purposeful and powerful are the patterns that within twelve
months (or so) a floor-bound infant achieves verticality. The ability to move
through dimensional space, the ability to use tools, the ability to use language
and the whole internalization of the outside world into what is called mind is
conditioned through the emergence of these patterns and the unique way in
which each child integrates them into their way of being.
Emerging patterns can be influenced to a degree by cultural practices, illness,
the presence or absence of bonding, nurturing and other behavioral and
environmental factors, but they are not determined by these. The patterns are
universal. Having knowledge of this natural process helps infant educators
engage in bonding and play that is deeply supportive of the infant's learning and