The prison. That’s my nickname for where I work. Not because I feel trapped. Not because I feel oppressed. Not because our director is a dictator. Certainly not because I hate my job. None of those. It’s because we are forced to work and play with only metal, asphalt, and rubber. No nature. None. Nada. Nothing. Not one patch of grass, one bush, one tree – nothing. And it makes me sad because I know, I’ve read, and I’ve seen that nature encourages growth and learning in young children. But yet we have none.
It wasn’t always this way. There used to be an abandoned building just across the street from our school. Next to that building was a large grassy area with rocks, trees, and bushes. I used to take my class over there two or three times a week to play. They loved every moment! Our school owned that building and the grassy area…so it was safe for us. I also used to take my class for walks around the neighborhood to observe changes, sounds, and collect items to take back to class to explore further. Those were great times – full of adventure and exploration!
Then one day – it all changed. They decided to tear down the building along with the trees, grass and bushes to make way for a parking lot. And then, shortly thereafter, our walks were taken away as well. An old man that lived in the convalescent hospital across the street from our school brought in a picture he had taken of one class out for a walk. He thought they were sooo cute and snapped a picture! He brought a duplicate in to give the class. But then Ms. Lezze-Faire started ranting about sex offenders and kidnappers taking pictures of the children and about privacy issues and all that jazz – and then before we knew it – our walks were gone too!
I tried to bring nature into the classroom through plants – I even brought the plants in and had the children help plant them – but out of the 6 we started with – we only have 1 left. I guess I have a black thumb. It doesn’t help that our room gets little to no sunlight and the temperature is not constant (which is an entirely different story).
I still feel bad for the children. I know they are missing out. They like the playground, but they get bored of it. There is not much room for the imagination – and they feel it. I wish I knew what to do – I wish I knew why everyone where I work is so anti-nature. I wish I could give my children what they deserve!
*Picture found through Google Images*