I think of how music and nature weave their ways into children's lives. The benefits of both are well-documented for children's physical and emotional health, academic growth, and creativity. So it really struck me to see the two beautifully played out INSIDE our home one recent Saturday morning.
Jesse loves music and has a small collection of CDs that she plays in her room. She will often dress up in fancy skirts, then sing, dance, and twirl for us. That particular morning, she had us sit in her room while she queued up the song. I noticed the bright sunshine shimmering on her collection of rocks, sticks, feathers, shells, and pine cones.
As I looked around, I also noticed how often nature is represented in her art. Some of her favorite things to draw and paint are birds, butterflies, animals, trees, and flowers. Nature should be joyful, never scary, for young children. We have to allow them to connect with nature in fun and meaningful ways. As you can clearly see from the smile on the butterfly's face, my little one finds joy in nature.
The music began and Jesse started twirling and singing, a look of utter happiness on her face. The song, appropriately, was "Free To Be...You and Me."
- Treasures of the Heart, by Alice Ann Miller, is a lovely story about a child's collections and why they are so special.
- My Mama Had a Dancing Heart, by Libba Moore Gray, is about a mother and daughter, and a celebration of life through dance and the seasons.
- Come on Rain!, by Karen Hesse, takes place in a city neighborhood. A child and her friends hope for rain on a sultry day, then dance in the streets when it finally falls. I love the language in this story.