G and E visited New York City with their parents last weekend. When they returned they brought a book to share with their classmates. The book told the story of a pear tree found alive at the World Trade Center site after the 9/11 tragedy. The tree was unearthed and driven to a nursery outside of the city.The story is told through the eyes of the tree. The personification of the tree is appealing to the children. Children perceive all living things as being capable of having feelings, sensations and thoughts.
This year our Umbrella Project is Relationships. Learning is initiated, established and executed through relationship so the possibilities are endless. A child comes to this Earth with a natural curiosity for all that is living. It seems as if our responsibility as parents and adults is to accept with reverence their approach to the living world and not begin to dissect it into facts or preempt the personification.
As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unselfconsciously to the soughing of the trees.” -Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth
We explained very little regarding the 9/11 event that occurred before the children's birth but changed the world as we knew it. It was a story of hope not history. A story that emphasized the restorative powers of nature.
These are some of the thoughts that the children voiced as they listened to this very poignant book.
M: My Mom was alive when 9/11 happened and my brother Tristan was just a little baby.
N: I am surprised that the tree survived after a building feel on it.
ES: It was interesting that the tree kept remembering NYC and its life there.
T: I'm surprised that so many people took care of it like water, fertilizer and soil. And then the bird nested it in
N: Its funny that the tree has feelings.
P: Do you think that the tree talks? Or do you think it can think?
N: When they moved the tree they were very careful to take the tree out and wrap her toots in burlap.
AC: The burlap has holes and lets the tree breathe
DC: I like how they call the tree the survivor tree.
A: Why didn't they show the bad guys in the book?