Our moss lessons from last week as we blend Ancient India and Botany for 5th/1st Grade! ✨
First and foremost, we had been hunting and gathering and foraging for all kinds of moss! My children are of course already extremely familiar with moss with the amount of time we have spent in forests and hikes, and collecting things for fairies! My girls always saw moss as soft beds and they even nuzzle up to them 😄 so when I said we were studying moss this week, I got a big "Yay!"
Also, isn't moss just the most beautiful thing? I swoon when I see it, and I am an adult! Hehe.
I introduced the idea of moss being like little children who take their first steps and say their first words. . . and how they generously help the trees by keeping the ground moist and damp. I adore Charles Kovacs books because they are beautiful, simple, and have just enough facts mixed with parables (as Steiner intended) so the children aren't bombarded by intellectualism. The wonder and awe is truly kept alive!
To bring this alive for my 1st Grader too, but not give her too much 5th Grade preview yet, we created an indoor moss fairy garden with her and her fairies. . . to just let her be still in the world of play and imagination. She really needs even less facts than her big sister. The time for teaching mainly through the head is in highschool!
Here is a great quote I shared this week that I hold in my heart all through this Botany block:
“To give the child a plant or flower and then make him learn its name, the number of its stamens, the petals and so forth, has absolutely no meaning for human life, or at most only a conventional one. Whatever is taught the child in this way remains quite foreign to him. He is merely aware of being forced to learn it, and those who teach botany to a child of eleven or twelve in this way have no true knowledge of the real connections of Nature. To study some particular plant by itself, to have it in the specimen box at home for study is just as though we were to pull out a single hair and observe it as it lay there before us. The hair by itself is nothing; it cannot grow of itself and has no meaning apart from the human head. Its meaning lies simply and solely in the fact that it grows on the head of a man, or on the skin of an animal. Only in its connections has it any living import. Similarly, the plant only has meaning in its relation to the earth, to the forces of the sun and, as I shall presently show, to other forces also. In teaching children about a plant therefore, we must always begin by showing how it is related to the earth and to the sun. I can only make a rough sketch here of something that can be illustrated in pictures in a number of lessons. Here (drawing on the blackboard) is the earth; the roots of the plant are intimately bound up with the earth and belong to it. The chief thought to awaken in the child is that the earth and the root belong to one another and that the blossom is drawn forth from the plant by the rays of the sun. The child is thus led out into the Cosmos in a living way.
If the teacher has sufficient inner vitality it is easy to give the child at this particular age a living conception of the plant in its cosmic existence. To begin with, we can awaken a feeling of how the earth-substances permeate the root; the root then tears itself away from the earth and sends a shoot upwards; this shoot is born of the earth and unfolds into leaf and flower by the light and warmth of the sun. The sun draws out the blossoms and the earth retains the root.“ Rudolf Steiner
If this is the case for a 5th Grader, it is all the more important for someone who just barely left early childhood! So how can a 1st Grader study moss with her big sister? With a little imagination and a sprinkle of fantasy 😉
First a hunt for moss. . .
. . . for a new Spring Table! ✨
I included a magnifying glass so they both could check out the tiny details ✨ It will be wonderful especially for my 1st Grader to get to play with this through the Spring season. We invested in a little well, a chicken coop, and a swing at the craft store when there was a buy one get one half off sale and I think for her constant play it was well worth it!
For our second Ancient India study, my 5th Grader heard the tale of Baghira and the River Ganges (which I always seem to mispronounce!) coming back down from heaven where the gods kept it. (we could see why they wanted it being so beautiful!. We did a painting lesson together including the Himalayan mountains and the River Ganges flowing down. . . with some conifers (our conifer lesson is next week but this was a good preview) and moss on the side! Our video tutorial for this is now in the video section of this website if you would like to watch it.
I prepared a summary for her to write in cursive. . .
For my 1st Grader's Ancient India Fairy Tales Language Arts story, we read "The Brahman Girl That Married a Tiger" about a tiger that had powers to turn into human! My daughter was fascinated by this story. . . it does get a little gory and graphic at times, but nevertheless the happy ending is wonderful.
We are working on her Alphabet letters, so I pulled T for Tiger out of the story. . . it especially worked out because he was a tiger turning into a human! He tiptoed through the forest in a sneaky way in the story. . . so I was able to incorporate more "T"'s into her sentence. She really wants to do sentences in a strong way . . . just like her sister. I was going to wait to do them until the end of the blog but she is very eager!
I love how we are combining Ancient Civilization right in with our Botany and Geography studies, but I especially love how thanks to Steiner's indications, I can bring it to both 5th and 1st Grade. So fun!!!