Learning to Love Nature: Dig In! with Cindy Jenson-Elliott
Tonight at dinner, my son spotted a tiny clear worm, no bigger than three grains of sand, crawling along the edge of our salad bowl.
“Oh, Hello!” my son said. “Who is this?”
We had just picked our first crop of winter lettuce and radishes, and were eager to eat the tender greens. We all leaned in and watched as the tiny worm inched his way along, blindly bobbing his front end and then pulling his back end up to make a little hump.
“What’s that dark part in him?” my daughter asked. “Poop, maybe?” She thought a moment. “I’m glad I’m not clear!”
We moved our little friend onto a piece of lettuce and took him outside. Then we settled in to eat.
Small moments like that make me so glad I’ve been able to raise my children with a connection to the natural world. Getting to know nature is a small, intimate act. We grow to love the planet by noticing what—and who— is right under our noses, close up and personal. We develop a love of the whole by making friends with each part – whether it is a worm or a weed.
That’s what Dig In! is all about – digging in and getting to know our own little part of the planet.
I teach two days a week, and last week my students’ co-teacher and I went out into the school garden to take pictures of our hands digging in to nature. We’ll be posting them as part of a Dig In! Twitter campaign at #1000HandsDigIn. Children in our mixed-age, grade 1-3 class took photos of their own hands, and their friends’ hands digging in and finding all kinds of things in the garden.
I hope children and their families, and teachers and their students will use Dig In! as a jumping off point for discovering wonder in their backyards and schoolyards.
So get busy and Dig In! A world of wonders is waiting for you, just below the surface!
About Cindy Jenson-Elliott
Cindy Jenson-Elliott is the author of the celebrated Weeds Find a Way illustrated by Carolyn Fisher. She is a freelance writer for a variety of newspapers, magazines, and educational publishers, as well as a teacher and natural history instructor. She has an MA in education, and she enjoys spending time outdoors in San Diego, California, where she lives with her family. Visit her at CindyJensonElliott.com.
Written by Cindy Jenson-Elliott
Illustrated by Mary Peterson
Publisher’s Synopsis: Dig in to this vibrant picture book that celebrates all the surprises found down in the dirt!
I dig in the dirt…and find a seed.
I dig in the dirt…and find a spider.
Explore all of the creepy, crawly, dirty, muddy, green, and growing things that can be found outside in the garden. From pill bugs to worms to leafy green sprouts, young readers will love discovering the muddy garden habitat within the pages of this book—and outside in their own backyards!
This sweet and playful celebration of outdoor exploration is a perfect read aloud for story time.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Beach Lane Books | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1442412613
Discover more books like Dig In!, by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and Mary Peterson, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with Bugs and Spiders, Cindy Jenson-Elliott, Spring, and Environment & Ecology.
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