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Learning to be Gentle Giants
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April 28, 2016
Green Teacher

Originally appears in the Spring 2016 issue

Credit: Jane Frances Powell

Did your Mum have a “sun’s shining, get out of the house” rule? Mine did. In fact, “sunshine” was a subjective concept in my mother’s world and was understood more as “daylight.” If it happened to be raining or snowing, she would have our appropriate outdoor gear lined up by the door to help make our exit all the swifter. Fresh air was generally understood by her to be the magic ingredient in “happy kids.”

My fondest memories, both as a child and as an adult, are of playing in natural outdoor settings. Although I grew up only 40 minutes from Montreal, our suburban backyard was exploding with so-called “dirty knees” learning experiences.  “Outside” was where my posse of friends and I discovered why salamanders hide beneath rotten logs, how snakes go about climbing steep rocks, how frogs manage to survive the winter, that a veil of cirrostratus clouds may mean rain is on its way, how to locate North via the Big Dipper, the mathematics behind igloo-construction, that snow can be made from boiling water in freezing temperatures, and the amazing various forms of water, its cycle, and its importance. We got the details by asking local experts (including my dad) and going to the library. We sought after the details because we were inspired and questions came up as we explored.


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