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Finding Wonder

03/01/2023 09:46:35 AM

Mar1

Ann Cauterruci, Preschool Director

Wonder, noun.

A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. “He had stood in front of it, observing the intricacy of the ironwork with the wonder of a child.”

G.K. Chesterton wrote that, “What was wonderful about childhood is that anything in it was a wonder. It was not merely a world full of miracles; it was a miraculous world.”

Spring is always full of wonder and our preschool children have been looking for signs of spring in our garden. We are prepping for planting, tiny rosebuds are waiting to explode with color, daffodils are showing their beautiful yellow petals, and Pesach is around the corner. 

These last three years in our outdoor classrooms have held a multitude of wonders both for the children and our teachers. I’ve seen children laying on their bellies, observing a millipede as it goes about its business, a big centipede that didn’t quite understand how it got into the plastic bowl, and a young salamander that was the hit of the day! Even the most squeamish child couldn’t wait to take a look at all of the surprises from the ground. The highlight of one cold morning was a small group of children who were looking for a magnifying glass when they discovered ice in the paint tray and spent the longest time touching it, holding it, and even breaking off a piece!

Rachel Carson has written, “A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy, who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from sources of our strength.”

Wonder is everywhere if we take the time to notice. Children bring with them a very special gift, one that allows them to be fascinated at a snail walking along the path wiggling its antennae, or how colors can mix to find an entirely new color, or the awe of the Chanukah candles all in a row. When children are given the time and space to explore and notice, they are building life skills that will follow them forever. They will have respect for the Earth, self-discipline, respect and caring for others, being a good friend, caring for living things, and most of all, kindness.

Every child is born curious, watchful, a questioner, a discoverer, and a learner. Take a walk outside, smell the air, look for a worm, or a millipede, or a daffodil. There is so much to see and so much to appreciate in this wonderful world of ours.

I leave you with more from Rachel Carson: “If we’re going to save the planet from our own destructive hands, it’s going to be with children and a sense of wonder. If a child is to keep alive their inborn sense of wonder, they need the companion of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him or her the joy, the excitement, and the mystery of the world we live in. We get to be that companion every day.”

Wed, March 22 2023 29 Adar 5783