I loved how Louv (2008) called the special places adopted by children “small galaxies” (p. 171). I remember laughing to myself when, every afternoon, the children in my program would “go on a hike.” Why is this funny? Because the hike they were going on was through a small group of trees that lined the back fence, an uninspiring spot to most adult onlookers, but to these two and three year olds getting through them was an adventure. They had to work to get their bodies under branches and over tree roots and rocks, not to mention that they had to take the risk of getting scratched or swatted by the random branches near their face. Going through this area made them feel like they were on their own, without any adult supervision and doing something that perhaps most adults would not let them do. They felt empowered…like true adventurers. I would always imagine them as sixteen year olds remembering how grand the backyard of their early ed center was, for to them at the time it was “an entire universe” (Louv, 2008, p. 170), and this is what made me smile.
Louv, R. (2008). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. New York, NY: Workman Publishing.