My sister wrote to me yesterday, mentioning a recent talk in Yellow Springs, Ohio, our hometown, by Lowell Monke. A quick search took me to Monke’s article in a 2007 issue of Orion, an environmental magazine. I’ll give you the link in a minute, but first:
Monke describes forest kindergartens as a way to reconnect young people with nature. He writes that while “few full-blown forest kindergartens have been created in the U.S…. a number of schools have established forest weeks…. And, of course, where there are no forests, prairie weeks, pond months or desert days can serve as well.”
Monke urges not only engagement with the natural world but intergenerational engagement as well. Schools can, he writes, “help balance our hard-charging, future-obsessed culture with an environment that fosters compassion, reverence and a sense of obligation toward those who have come before.”
Parents have an even greater obligation and opportunity to do these things than educators do, I believe. It is up to us really, as parents, to to show young people how (Monke’s words again) “to live as dignified members of an increasingly mediated and fragile world” and how to increase their and “our concern for those we live with and the Earth we live on.”
We must help each other in these efforts. Please let me know your thoughts, directly if you like eve @ parentsforum.org .
You can find Monke’s 2007 article in Orion: www.orionmagazine.org but you probably figured that out already.