It’s Tuesday– we’ve got a lot to do before Thanksgiving, but hopefully we’ll squeeze in time to get the Loblolly Garden, I call it the children’s garden, at Clark Park off of Ramsey Street. I heard about it at the beginning of summer by a lady at the Farmer’s Market who runs and started it.
It has had such a great effect on Azita. It is a completely safe place. She isn’t constantly being told “No, get down from there. No, that’s not a toy. No! Azita I said to stop climbing on the window sill!”
She can climb and hop and jump and water plants and dig in dirt and Ada loves it too, though I have to keep an eye she doesn’t eat dirt and all.
But Cathy, who started it, has done an awesome thing for Fayetteville’s kids. If Azita is having a bad day and we need to get out of the house, (or I’m the cranky one, whoever!), going to the store or a playdate might just magnify it. But taking her to this nature park helps. It calms her down and makes us both feel better.
I mean, really, even a self-proclaimed naturalist and all that I am, before we went here every Tuesday, when was the last time I went outside that wasn’t in my yard? So its been also good for me. Just the short walk through the woods from the parking lot relaxes me and lets me look at leaves on the ground and things in the trees. It’s amazing the things Azita sees and notices that I walk right by.
Cathy is training in Waldorf Education (I wish we had a school here after watching her). When a kid wants something Azita has, and Azi says “No!” and pulls her hand back, Cathy asks Azita to find a similar block or something else to give the other kid. These little things make a big difference. If we were at a playroom or something I’d tell her she has to share and all, but giving the kids a constructive way to handle the conflict is so much better.
There must be something to this Waldorf and also the positive effects of keeping kids (adults, too) outside because I’ve certainly never seen 6 kids aged 2-5 sit and wait patiently while the instructor tells a story before painting. They sit like little angels watching Cathy demonstrate her painting first.
Here’s an article I wrote on it, published in the Saturday Extra this past week: