"The young child is a creature of the meadow, and the meadow lives inside him" (Sobel, 2011, p. 41)
The meadow is a metaphor developed by Sobel to describe safe, nearby and close to parent exploration of the natural world during early childhood; 2- 6 years (Sobel, Wild Play, p.37). Sobel advocates for establishing a safe and trusting family bond as a precursor for bonding with the natural world (p. 39). Sobel acknowledges that our culture's obsession with cleanliness and fostering independence early on that can interfere with a child's sense of safety in experiencing the natural world...or the meadow (p.37, 38).
To counter these concerns, Sobel explains how a child's natural tendency to put everything in their mouth can create the conditions for a healthy intestinal system which boosts immunity (p. ...). Also more advocacy for what Sobel calls a "slow childhood" seems beneficial to all members of the family.
Once in the meadow of early childhood, a sense of empathy and bond for the natural world around, can be encouraged and developed through explorations, reflections, story telling, nature-role playing and metaphors (p. 39). Another benefit of exploring the meadow of early childhood is the rich learning environment it provides in supporting the expansive development of language during these early years (p. 39). Infusing language development while in or in reference to the natural world, can also have the benefit of an early sense of interdependence between our everyday lives and nature - increasing the bond (p. 40).
" Your shoes are lined up just the way the swallows sit on the telephone wire" (p.40) is an Sobel example of a nature metaphor in everyday conversations.
I love this idea and didn't realize we did this until I thought of my own example of a nature metaphor we use in our everyday lives: connecting the phases of the moon with eating our circles of cucumber. This is something I would like to be more conscious of and record! I love that this could support the early concept of interdependence between our everyday lives and nature.
Language as a powerful tool to how we come to understand the world we live in ..... need to explore further...
Mystical and magical...Sobel believes that "Cultivating such imaginative worlds in nature during childhood can nurture an ability to access wonder and delight that persists into adult life" (p.41)
It makes me think of our "secret path" to our house from the green space to our backyard. I would like to explore this more by creating stories around our secret path through the forest into our yard. Also I would still like to find a creative way to name our 13 mature spruce trees in the backyard and find a magical troll to place under our bridge connecting the patios in the back!
I think if we can nurture our creative minds and spirits in the outdoors to support our children's we will reconnect to our former child in nature. It also concerns me that if we are not providing the space or opportunities for our children to develop this sense of deep magic and wonderment in the natural world who will support and nurture the next generation's?