Go Take A Hike!
by Donna Brooks
Early childhood students witness the seasonal unfolding of the natural world through our weekly hikes. Rigorous movement adventures are experienced as we walk, climb, roll, jump and balance our way into the woods. The children participate with lively attention to the changes taking place through the year as we engage in this weekly ritual along the same path through all the seasons. The children feel their strength, sense of purpose and direction, and sense of connection to the world. Time outside and in nature is an imperative for all of us, but is especially necessary for the young child.
In Waldorf schools, we conceive of twelve “senses” that are experienced and strengthened in the developing child. In early childhood, the first group of senses we work with is the physical or basal group of senses, which are related to the will. These include touch, life, movement, and balance—the self-perceptive senses. Our weekly hikes are one way that these four lower senses are strengthened. Developing, experiencing, and strengthening these lower senses leads to a building block for knowing one’s self and relating to others with a sense of empathy, compassion and tolerance.
Enjoy this photo montage of how self and life are experienced in the simple act of taking a hike. These are from the past five years of this kindergarten tradition at Da Vinci Waldorf School!