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How to enjoy nature


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Chapter 7. A variety of topics and methods of work on ecotropes *

7.5. “Let's enjoy nature with the children”

Joseph Cornell is the author of the wonderful books “Let's Enjoy Nature with Children” and “Let's Experience the Joy of Communicating with Nature,” which have become an inspiration to many people who are worried about the fate of our Planet and who believe that it’s important to understand Nature not only through the mind, but also with the heart. The books contain theory, methodology, and detailed descriptions of games. But the most important thing is that reading the books of Joseph Cornell is amazingly inspiring. We hope that you will be given a state of enthusiastic reverence, surprise, and the real joy of communicating with Nature, from the preface of the 1999 edition of the Russian language.

Some tips for becoming a good teacher

Before you begin to learn nature with children, let's think about us as teachers. What are the basic principles that make it possible to organize training so that it becomes fun and useful for children and for ourselves? I want to share with you five rules of teaching children in nature, which helped me use the inexhaustible energy of children, switch it from leprosy and mischief to more constructive and, ultimately, more satisfying things. These rules are based on two basic feelings - respect for children and reverential attitude towards nature - and following these feelings always gives an excellent response.


I not only tell children the bare facts about nature (this tree is called a pine), but I like to tell them how I feel, standing next to this pine. I confess to them that I am awestruck in front of these trees and respect them for the fact that they can survive in very harsh conditions, when winter winds bend, twist and destroy their branches. And I always tell the children that I am amazed how the roots of pine trees growing on the rocks can generally get any nutrients.

Children react to my statements much more emotionally than to dry explanations in the textbook. Take, for example, the situation with the pine tree that grew near the camp where I worked. This tree grew between two huge boulders, so its roots went down 7.5 m down to reach the rocky soil. By this time, she was at least two hundred years old, and her height was only 2.4 m. Children often made a detour during their walks just to pour water from their flasks onto its roots. Some children came to this camp from year to year to observe how a tree stubbornly struggles to survive in harsh conditions. Immediately after arrival, the guys immediately run to their pine tree to see how she survived dry autumn and cold winter. Their care and love awakened in me even greater respect for the tree.

I am sure that adults need to share their emotional experiences with children. Only by sharing our thoughts and feelings with others, we truly communicate and are able to generate love and respect for the earth in others. When we share our ideas and feelings with children, we encourage children to explore their own feelings and feelings. Between an adult and a child, wonderful trust and friendship arise.


This means listening and being aware. This is the most grateful direction in working with children. Being together with them in nature, you will see how spontaneous enthusiasm manifests itself in the child, which you can confidently direct into the channel of knowledge of nature.

Open your feelings: every question, every comment, every joyful statement is an opportunity to communicate. Sensitively react to the mood and feelings of the child, expand the circle of his interests, teaching him as his own curiosity awakens.

If you respect his thoughts, you will see how easy and happy it will be for you in the company of your child.

Be prepared to notice what is happening in nature around you at any given time. Something exciting and interesting always happens in nature. If you are attuned to the perception of nature, every minute of your lesson will be useful for the child.


From the very beginning, set the tone for your journey into nature. Grab the attention of all the children by asking questions and showing what is interesting to see and hear. Some children do not know how to carefully observe nature, so show them what may be of interest, and gradually cultivate observation in them. Let them feel that their discoveries are interesting to you.


Sometimes a performance of nature can capture the whole child: a dragonfly that came from somewhere, slightly swaying its wings, a lone deer grazing on the lawn. But even if there are no such memorable scenes, a child can learn nature just nearby. Children have a wonderful ability to immerse themselves in what they are looking at. Your child will better understand that OUTSIDE him, merging with it, than listening to an oral story. Children rarely forget the experience of direct communication with nature.

Do not be discouraged if you do not know the names of any animals or plants. In the end, these are just artificial labels to indicate what they really are. Just as your inner being does not reflect your name or even your appearance and character traits, there is more to a simple oak tree than just a collection of information about it. You’ll better understand what an oak tree is if you learn to see how it changes during the day as its light changes. Observe the tree from various points. Feel its bark and leaves by touch, inhale their smell. Sit quietly on its branches or in its shade and try to see all the life forms that can be found next to the tree or on it.

Watch. Ask questions. Guess. Have fun. When the soul of your child sounds in unison with Nature, your relationship will cease to be a student-teacher relationship, but will become a relationship of adventure mates.


Cognition of nature should be imbued with joy, both in the form of open fun, and in the form of calm attention. Children are naturally drawn to cognition if you manage to maintain an atmosphere of joy. Remember, your enthusiasm is contagious, and this is perhaps the most valuable thing you have as a teacher.

Tricks to make your story exciting:

  • Learn the beginning and end of your story. This will help you confidently start and finish it on an emotional upsurge. Distribute the most interesting moments evenly throughout the program so that the listeners' interest does not fade away.
  • Carefully consider the details of your appearance "on stage". Show and tell. Spend less time on verbal descriptions. Deeply feel the mood or features of the story you want to tell. Define the main idea of ​​each story and try to convey it to the audience. Tell a few stories with different ideas.
  • Define the climax of each story so plan your story so that the listeners' interest reaches its highest point at that moment.
  • Do not try to tell everything that you know on a particular topic.. Keep your stories simple. Do not include episodes in your program that do not help uncover its main idea. Make the stories that really can affect people the most impressive and interesting.
  • Look into the eyes of your listeners. The only exceptions are those cases when you portray a dialogue between two heroes or when you play a scene and involve the audience in the play.
  • Get used to the image. Listeners will believe you to the same extent that you believe in yourself and to what extent you managed to get used to the image of your hero. In order to convey various character properties of your hero, change the expression of your eyes and face.
  • Hands will help you “create” the space, show its extent. Hands you will draw. Relive your role with gesturesthat will allow you to emphasize particularly important points. Gestures should be wide, do not be afraid to take your hands off your body, then people sitting in the back rows will be able to see everything that you want to show them.
  • Change your conversation style, rhythm and mood more often. Due to the alternation of rhythm, you will be able to ensure that your “performance” will look with unflagging interest. Slow down your speech speed from time to time so your listeners can relax a bit.
  • If you want to emphasize something important or convey a sense of suspense, mystery, pause. If you manage to control your emotions and don’t worry that you will forget something, you can give each word the most expressiveness.
  • Do not panic if you forget something. Just pause, think and do not look away from the audience. The more relaxed you will behave, the easier you can get out of a difficult situation.
  • Saturate your performance with humor: It helps students relax and makes them more receptive to the ideas you want to convey to them. It’s best to express the most important and serious ideas right after some funny story.
  • Your idea should be built taking into account the age characteristics of the listeners. Children’s thinking is very concrete, they need to visualize everything, adults are more interested in verbal expression of your ideas. Children calm down more slowly after funny stories.
  • Better if you will share your feelings and moods with the audiencerather than just portraying someone in front of them. Share with your listeners your delight and joy that the story of your hero’s life causes you.

Natural stages of perception of nature

Playing with children in nature for many years, I gradually realized that there is a certain sequence of using various games and activities that "works" best, regardless of the age of the children, their mood or physical condition. I became convinced that this sequence was so effective because it is in harmony with certain aspects of human nature.

Over time, I distributed all the games in nature that I myself invented or learned from someone, in accordance with this natural way of knowing. I have been using my system for almost ten years with great success, in completely different situations and with groups of students of different nationality, age and social status.

I call this system the “flow of knowledge” because it has stages that flow one into the other naturally and smoothly:

Stage 1 - Awakening of enthusiasm.
Stage 2 - focusing.
Stage 3 - the acquisition of direct experience.
Stage 4 - transfer of your inspiration (or impression) to others.

Now let's take a closer look at each stage.

1. Without enthusiasm, you will never gain significant experience in dealing with nature.. By enthusiasm, I understand by no means excitement, accompanied by loud screams and leaps of joy, but a calm intense personal interest and an increased willingness to accept new things. Without such enthusiasm, we know very little.

2. Cognition depends on the ability to focus your attention. Enthusiasm alone is not enough. If our thoughts wander somewhere, we cannot dynamically perceive the environment - neither nature, nor anything else. Therefore, we must focus our enthusiasm on the subject of knowledge.

3. As we gradually focus our attention, we better begin to perceive what we see, hear, touch, smell what we feel, or what we get intuitively. With the help of calm attention, we can better fit into the rhythm and life of nature surrounding us. Concentrated attention creates inner peace and openness, which allows us to directly know nature, overcoming the dominance of established stereotypes created by the mind. Therefore, during the third stage, we gain direct experience.

4. Experience fosters deeper perception. What do I mean by that? In the book “Let's enjoy nature with children,” I described a game called “Fixed Hunting,” during which the “hunter” tries to sit still, and nature around lives its usual life. Let's imagine that you are playing "Fixed Hunt" and birds sit on a tree right above your head. Remaining motionless, you begin to be imbued with an amazing sense of unity with life surrounding you, as if you have completely merged with the landscape and feel life through bird singing, the rustling of grass or the movement of tree branches. Staying motionless, you can sometimes feel enormous joy, embracing all of you, or deep complete happiness, or an all-consuming sense of beauty, or enormous creative power. Nature ALWAYS inspires us, and only our fussy mind does not allow us too often with joy to realize this.

The teacher can help reinforce feelings of inspiration in his students by telling stories about nature that elevate and inspire the soul, or stories from the lives of great naturalists and conservationists.

I call the fourth stage “the transmission of my inspiration” because when we transmit something, we strengthen and clarify for ourselves our own personal experience.

Natural flow cognition

The “flow of knowledge” allows you to create an infinite number of methods of knowing nature, each of which perfectly corresponds to existing circumstances, while you will not have two completely identical methods. Based on a few very simple principles, this system is not rigid. You can apply the “flow of knowledge” for games and activities described both in my books and in other sources known to you.

I successfully used the “flow of knowledge” for classes that lasted from half an hour to a whole day. I used it indoors when it rained outside the windows, and outdoors when the sun was shining.

This system is very flexible because it gives you the ability to respond to the needs of the moment.

The goal of the “flow of knowledge” is to give everyone a truly soul-elevating experience in communication with nature.

After each lesson, on which the “flow of knowledge” system has been successfully applied, each participant very subtly and joyfully feels in himself a new sense of unity with nature and empathy with all living things. You will also find that your students will begin to listen with great interest to the scientific explanation of natural events and phenomena, if you first help them create a mood of active perception and inspiration.

"The flow of knowledge" and switching attention

There are a lot of obstacles on the street, because of which the attention of your listeners can be scattered. These are machines, various mechanisms and even human voices. In addition, children can be cold, they can think about their problems. The advantage of the “flow of knowledge” is that it helps listeners to free their attention so that they can relax, experience the pleasure of communicating with nature.

A powerful current carries with it the slow whirlpools that form along the river banks. Similarly, when you offer people to play nature games that fill the body and mind with energy, this strong energy field created in the game flushes away all personal problems and improves mood. Freed from their worries, people enthusiastically get a new, incomparable experience.

* This page contains information from the collection ["Trail in harmony with nature". A collection of Russian and foreign experience in creating ecological paths. M .:" R.Valent ", 2007. - 176 p.], Prepared by our colleagues from ecological center "Reserves"who kindly provided us with the opportunity to post this extremely useful information for all environmental educators on our website.
Read also the article by teachers from the city of Stary Oskol "Ecological trail as a means of environmental education and enlightenment."

Beautiful quotes about nature

Nature awakens in us the need for love.

The beauties of nature inspire and open the heart to love.

Everything in this world begins with nature.

Roses instill a love of nature, and thorns instill respect.

You learn to respect nature only when it itself teaches a lesson.

In nature, everything is wisely thought out and arranged, everyone should do his own thing, and in this wisdom - the highest justice of life.

No matter how much a person tries to jump over the will of nature, he will still be where he should be.

Nature is a pleasant mentor, and not so much pleasant as cautious and faithful.

Faithful teaches people life, but she does it carefully and unobtrusively, so everyone thinks that they themselves are learning.

Without sin in this world, only nature.

To protect nature means to protect the homeland.

This does not mean that outside the homeland, nothing needs to be protected ...

Contact with nature is the last word of all progress, science, reason, common sense, taste and excellent manners.

Everyone can enjoy the benefits of civilization, but not everyone is given the beauty of nature.

A selection of statuses about nature

Nature is the second lover who comforts us when the first changes.

In moments of betrayal, no one can console as nature does.

Knowledge of the laws of nature does not save from their impact.

The element is unpredictable, it is not subject to any laws.

Nature is defeated only by obeying its laws.

Victory in nature does not consist in surpassing something, preventing or using it, but in accepting everything as it is.

Nature is an infinite sphere, the center of which is everywhere.

Nature surrounds man every second.

Mother Nature

Russian poet M. Yu. Lermontov owns another quote about ecology: "Moving away from the conditions of society and approaching nature, we unwittingly become children." This statement once again reminds people of their origin: man is the brainchild of nature. And the great Russian poet expressed himself precisely. Without nature, a man becomes orphaned - he will have nowhere to seek refuge. Our planet is the only place in the entire investigated Universe where there are necessary conditions for human life.



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