Thursday, December 13, 2012

  Article from Tiny Treks

Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain. ~ Traditional Proverb

What are your fondest childhood memories of playing in the rain?  Do you remember getting on your red rain boots and your yellow slicker as your mom pushed you out the door?  Your neighbor friends were waiting for you.  First you ran up and down the street jumping in the puddles full of unabashed joy.  Then you saw the curbs along the street that were flooding with water.  You spent the next few hours creating boats out of sticks to see how far they would move though the curbs.  With my own children I tried to do the same thing.  Typically the neighbor kids were not outside, but our four children would create their own pack.  We saved on the rain boots as we felt the mud and water between our toes.  Weather permitting we even saved on the clothes.  Our corner flooded just the right amount to make for one huge science experiment of floating and sinking.  
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and my fondest childhood memories were being outside and exploring my natural environment.  No one was plugged in and the families with television watched it together at designated times a few hours a week. 
Our country is in a crisis and that crisis is unhealthy habits and lifestyles for children of all ages. We are in a society where we have convinced ourselves that organized adult driven sports and activities are equivalent to getting children outside.  Organized sports are not a replacement for children simply exploring.  Richard Louv in his book Last Child in The Woods talks about Nature Ritalin -the unfolding evidence that time spent in green spaces helps children focus better and think more clearly.  Tiny Treks is a weekly nature exploration  program for young children. Our classes are filled with children and loving adults.  We advise everyone on a rainy day to unplug and dance in the rain. 
Here are three simple things to explore outside this week rain or shine with your children.
1. Take a rain walk and see how many worms you can find.
2. Take the same exact route on a sunny day and see how many worms you can find.  Where did the worms go?  Encourage your children to ask questions.
3. Take a shower in the rain.  Bring out the shampoo.  It is a blast for kids of all ages.  Whether they are young enough to go naked, wearing a bathing suit or full rain gear they will have great memories.
This article brought to you by Pam Worth Director of Tiny Treks the pioneer nature exploration program for young children that has been established in the Peninsula for 15 years.
For more information, visit our website at

Monday, November 5, 2012

Do we want our kids just doing school? Dr. Ken Ginsburg asked that question at an amazing talk in Winnetka on Friday night. The evening motivated me to rethink the questions I ask my children on a daily basis. As an educator, I know not to ask "How was your day?" "What grade did you get in English?" I try to be creative, however it often does come back to academic achievement. So on Saturday morning I had a conversation with my 16 year old. She is getting her first C+ in her honors Spanish class. She has talked about dropping down. I thoughtfully decided to try a new approach to talk to her about this class. "Tell me about Spanish?" I asked. She lit up and said, "I love it. The teacher is amazing and I love how she teaches. The class is really fun. I love how I am learning in it, although parts of it are really hard for me." We talked for a few more minutes and I said, "Why would you drop down it sounds like you love this class." Relief washed over her. I realized she thought she needed to drop down because she was scared of doing poorly. After our conversation, she set a realistic goal of how she could get help in the challenging parts from the teacher and the importance of focusing on why this class got her excited and not on the grade.