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Touched by Whimsy
November 19, 2019
Creativity does not belong exclusively to professional artists and geniuses; it is the birthright of every single human being. Creativity is our common heritage. You donít need to quit your job and move to Paris in order to lay claim to this heritage Ė all you have to do is clear some space in your life for whimsy, invention, sensory pleasure, and play.
-Elizabeth Gilbert

The book, Growing With Nature: Supporting Whole-Child Learning in Outdoor Classrooms, includes this quote from the research paper, This never would have happened indoors, by Vicki Bohling, Cindy Saarela and Dr. Dana L. Miller, 2011: “Young children are instinctually drawn to learning that is concrete, experiential and touched by whimsy. The role of materials cannot be underestimated when creating an environment to support and encourage creative, authentic learning. The basic, un-prescribed qualities of natural items such as sticks and dirt require children to make ‘something of nothing.’”

And in the popular book, Bringing the Outside In, Sandra Duncan and Jody Martin offer this whimsical invitation for enjoying nature’s artistry indoors:

“Andy Goldsworthy is a British artist and photographer [who] creates with materials he finds right beneath his feet or within an arm’s length: twigs, stones, mud, berries, moss, ferns, leaves, pinecones, and acorns. With these easily accessible and found materials, he constructs visual beauty from natural objects (i.e. sculptures, mosaic-type patterns) on the ocean shoreline…or by the side of a woodland path – existing for a moment in time until they are altered by animals, humans, or erased by natural process. Simple and ordinary natural objects become extraordinary under Goldsworthy’s enchanted touch and imagination. Give children inside opportunities to create land art just like Andy Goldsworthy. Simply find a small area in your classroom and declare it the Andy Goldsworthy studio.”

The authors suggest beginning by checking out some of Goldsworthy’s photo-picture books from your local library. Some of his titles include: Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration With Nature; Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides; Hand to Earth; Andy Goldsworthy Sculpture.

Bringing the Outside In

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Bringing the Outside In offers nature-based experiences to encourage educators and young children to bring the natural world into the early childhood classroom. Each hands-on, open-ended, and sensory oriented experience is designed to spark discovery and imagination; encourage conversations and collaborations; and allow young children to develop a sense of wonder and get to know the natural world.

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