Read through the seasons

02 May, 2019

Do you feel it? That's it. There he is. It's spring.

Far be it from me to complain, but I found the winter quite long and I'm sure I'm not the only one. My children, in any case, even if they love snow, have been showing me regularly for a few weeks that they have had enough. They're ready for something else. They are ready to marvel at nature awakening.

And so am I. I'm tired of wintering (yes, we went outside to play every day. It's not the same good!)

To densify the beauty of spring awakening in my children's minds (and mine), I got into the habit a few years ago of punctuating children's books according to the seasons. I do it for every season, but it seems that in the spring, the meaning of this gesture is amplified: as I approach or start a new season, I make available to my children, prominently, some books that inspire the new season. Without embarking on the complex development of a table of nature or seasons as proposed by the Waldorf-Steiner pedagogy, I still take a few minutes to arrange the books on the subject of the coming season visually Attractive. Sometimes, with the children, we will add branching, casseroles, drawings or other appropriate treasures, but I do not put any pressure on myself to do so. On the other hand, I do it every time for books. It's simple, it's fast and it speaks a lot to the kids.

Since the idea is to celebrate the season that begins, it is usually books that will focus on nature and its peculiarities during this particular season. So I put away the books about winter, from the books of winter stories to books about the traces of animals in the snow, hibernation or the solstice, to replace them with books telling stories of vegetable gardens, adventures in the forest or stories of bears waking up. I also have our books offering scientific experiments related to nature such as preparing seedlings or making a volcano, or educational books on the spring equinox or a guide to insects. I find that releasing a few books on the theme of the season that begins really sets the tone for the months ahead of us.  

Not only do these books equip children with the long learning of time that passes by taking a little better ownership of concepts related to the cycle of the seasons and the beautiful world around them, these books awaken their curiosity about nature, and we inspire a multitude of ideas for activities and crafts for the season. They activate the excitement and anticipation for these simple but so rich activities: walks in the forest, observation and drawing of birds, search for bibitte and then rummage through our books to find the name and characteristics, collections of nature's treasures, etc.

These books nourished our discussions at home or during our walks in nature and excite the sense of observation of my children. They facilitate the link between small everyday gestures (composting, caring for our hens, preparing seedlings or repotting plants, choosing products that are less packaged or not containing harmful products, etc.) and the world around us.

They invite us to open our eyes, to become explorers of the world. They inspire my children's crafts, their drawings and their activities. It is not uncommon for you to find yourself around the table making a small bird feeder and then hanging it from our trees, or placing dry beans in a glass jar and then putting it in a glass jar. watches germinate, day after day. It is also not uncommon that after reading a book about nature, we run away in the forest and my children's eyes spot a new element that they had never noticed before during our outdoor walks.

With this way of doing things, I feel like I have the essence of two passions that are dear to me, and which I wish to pass on to my children: the love of books (of reading, of the curiosity associated with it, of this encounter with oneself, of this plunge into a universe All of it!) as well as the love of nature (its discovery, its knowledge, its understanding, the desire to immerse itself in it, to feel it and to protect it. All this too!).

By offering my children books related to the season in which we find ourselves, I see their natural curiosity for nature intensify, their eyes marvel. They are even more sensitive to the idea of taking care of the environment. In my head and heart, it's a simple way (and one of many) to contribute in my own way to creating a better world, a more peaceful and empathetic world.

You may be wondering why I just don't leave all the books available at all times, so that all this could be edselong? Am I complicating my life by doing so?

Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, I'm making our lives a lot easier, actually.

Taking the time to put away the books related to elements of other seasons, I feel like I'm helping my children focus on the period of our lives that we're going through, the current season. I feel like I'm helping them focus on this time of year, to eliminate some dizzying interweaveting of information. I feel like I'm equipping them to help them find their way through time and better understand the cycle of the seasons and the passing of time, without stunning them.

By taking care to release certain books for a certain part of the year like this, I also revive their interest in reading these books without feeling the need to get new ones, in addition to limiting the amount of books available in all the time. Having only a quantity of books available at all times has several advantages: it has been proven time and time again that giving your child too much choice can create an anxiety-inducing effect and stress, a state of overcoming. This may seem counter-intuitive, because yes, our children need to make choices, it is important for the development of their autonomy, confidence and personality. But too much is like not enough. Faced with too many choices of books, they may leaf a lot of them, but without deepening and will quickly move on to the next one. It is very likely that they will find that they do not have enough, that it is time to buy new ones. The region of the brain responsible for a young child's decision-making capacity is still very immature and too many choices will often lead to crises and frustrations. And we know that when everything is out and lying around the floor in the house, it's often overtaking and frustrating for an adult. Imagine for a little brain not fully developed! Books are part of a whole, and as with the rest, offering a selection chosen with care and in sufficient quantity but not abundant works well in my opinion.

It will also be more difficult for young children to take care of their books in the face of abundance. There is a better chance that the books end up scattered everywhere, a few pages torn and the parent having to repeat over and over again for the child to put them away (not so good). When a limited number of books are available at a time, the idea of storing and caring for books no longer seems like an immeasurable task for a small one. All of a sudden, the child puts them away more easily and gets into the habit in a more natural way.