Children marvel at the flitter of a butterfly. They contemplate the leisurely crawl of a caterpillar. They inspect the mysterious form and shape of a mushroom. This natural and wonderful curiosity is particularly vibrant in the mind of a child. 19th century educator Charlotte Mason said, "An observant child should be put in the way of things worth observing." For this reason, Stonehaven's science curriculum integrates a "nature studies" component to the science curriculum of the lower grammar school (PreK-2nd grade). This program seeks to encourage contemplation, reflection and study of God's natural world.
I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in." - George Washington Carver
What does this look like? Nature studies at Stonehaven takes many forms. One example would be the third grade taking a nature walk outside to listen and observe the birds. The Kindergarten class might venture outdoor in the fall to collect leaves. They would then study and inspect the intricate details of these leaves. Next they would sketch and color the leaves. The first grade class would observe a caterpillar and read a detailed description from Anna Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study. They would then complete a watercolor painting of the caterpillar.
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more."
- Lord Byron
The ultimate aim of the nature studies program is to train our children to slow down, to listen and to learn from observing God's world. This appreciation would lay the foundation for future studies in science and a love for God and his creation.