5 Tips for Choosing a Sit Spot
Become a Naturalist Yourself
I have started reading To Look Closely: Science and Literacy in the Natural World by Laurie Rubin. It is filled with stories about a year-long stream study that Ms. Rubin does with her second-grade class. I am loving the book so far and am finding myself writing notes on all over the pages.
Chapter 1 is called Ten Tips for Getting Started in Nature Study. Although I see myself as a Natural Teacher already, I found Rubin’s stories to be incredibly inspirational. She talks about the importance of “lingering in the natural world” to help us collect stories to share with children during our lessons outdoors. Rubin begins with Tip 1: Becoming A Naturalist Yourself. I have decided to take action while I read this book and keep a journal of my findings. Here goes…
Tip One: Find a Sit Spot. A sit spot is a designated spot in nature where you can observe and simply be with Nature. This idea inspired me to find a sit spot in each of my four types of gardens in my Outdoor Classroom Learning Lab. I begin my sit spot exploration in my Garden that Feeds.
TRY THIS: Think about the different sit spots in your outdoor space that your children may be drawn to. It may be under a tree, in a garden, or in a secret hide-a-way place.
Tip Two: Visit your Sit Spot. Laurie Rubin recommends visiting your sit spot once a week to observe. Twenty minutes is a good amount of time. You may find that sitting and observing to be difficult at first. Don’t fret.
TRY THIS: Simply begin with five minutes and go from there. Young children will not be able to sit for a long time. Introduce this concept and keep visiting.
Tip Three: Bring a journal. Write or draw your observations. The first time I did this I found myself writing what I saw and ended up writing down a lot of curiosity questions.
ASK: What do you think your children will write, draw or reflect upon? Do you think their ideas and observations will be the same as yours or different?
Tip Four: Visit your Sit Spot during different times of the day. Observe and see if there are changes. Lighting is always different throughout the day. Does the air feel different? Do you see more animals? Is the sky different?
Sample Journal Entry:
- Few tomatoes left
- Birds chirping
- Lot’s of clean up work that needs to be done
- Garden planning for next year
- When should I dismantle the garden?
- What are the names of the birds?
- What are they saying to each other?
- Wind is beautiful. What makes the wind blow?
- What happens to the tomatoes when they fall?
- I need to collect the remaining tomatoes for our salad tonight.
Reflections: I loved listening to the birds talking to each other. The fresh air was fabulous and completely changed my mood. I have to admit, it was hard for me to be in the garden and not get to work. There were weeds to be pulled and all I could see was all the gardening tasks that need to be done. This is a type of meditation practice. Therefore, my observation study work will begin with sitting and observing without the distraction of a “to do” list in the back of my mind. I will bring clarity to the use of time and distinguish the difference between “garden work time” and a “garden nature observation time”.
DO THIS: Now I want to hear from you. Do you have a sit spot? Where is it? Share your reflections in the comments below. Want to learn more?
Tip Five: Check out the Ready, Set, Sow: Become a Natural Teacher Master Class!
During this Master Class, you will:
- Reignite your creativity, enthusiasm, and inspiration as a teacher.
- Redefine your teaching philosophy and purpose so you feel more fulfilled and on fire for what you do.
- Explore and nurture your own garden practice… one that strengthens your connection with nature.
- Lay the foundation for your outdoor classroom and approach as a natural teacher.
- Re-enliven your systems for teaching… both indoors and out.
- Develop a sharp eye for seeing the possibilities in your outdoor space.
This Master Class is driven by curiosity. It offers you an opportunity to take a deeper look into your own philosophy and purpose as a teacher while cultivating your own gardening practice for teaching outdoors. Learn more HERE.