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Edification — n 1. improvement, instruction, or enlightenment, esp when morally or spiritually uplifting

Smiling, nodding, teaching. Loving!

Tag Archives: Nature Study

We are rife–RIFE!–with slugs and snails around here. Did you know there are over forty kinds of slugs? Book it Dann-o, it is a fact Jack. Did you know their anus and reproductive organs are on their tops? Did you know they can be smaller than a penny or as big as a banana?

Did you know they are really freaking gross and that I hate them?

Consider yourself informed on all fronts. When it comes to harmless creatures and preschoolers, however, we must never let our adult bias stand in the way of curiosity!

When my in-laws were here last week, we came upon this little guy (and by “little,” I mean enormous):

Eww, it moves:

This feller is more the size we generally see around the house…in the grass, on tree branches, on the deck, hanging off the roof…pretty much everywhere. While his mother fought back a scowl, Mowgli let him meander at will up his little arm. He was certain the slug was looking for his belly button so that he could sleep there.

Note the lovely trail of slug slime.

Making a run for it

Thankfully, this particular slug was not able to bed down in my child’s bellybutton after all. Perhaps if he’d shown just a tad more initiative….

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Big thanks to the friend who hooked us up with this link! There is a short commercial before the feed comes on.

I keep forgetting about this website, which is dumb because the boys love it! They are more than happy to give up their morning TV show to watch this instead. I’m going to make a note of it and we will start checking on these guys every morning while I get breakfast together.

Some questions I asked Mowgli this morning about the video (preschool Socratic method!):

  • Where do Eagles live?
  • Why do birds like to live in nests?
  • How do they get so high up?
  • Are these birds vegetarians or carnivores? [He knows the difference from dinosaur National Geographic movies]
  • How do you know they are carnivores?
  • Why is he sitting on his babies?
  • Where do you think the Momma eagle is?
  • Why can’t baby eagle birds go get their own food?
  • Why did the Daddy eagle act that way when the motorcycle went by?

So on and so forth, you get the idea. We just did this as I went about my business in the kitchen. All very casual.

A couple things are happening in a scene like this. First, the boys are feeling a connection to nature even though we can not actually be out in it exploring with all our senses on this particular day. Secondly, by reaching into his brain for the answers to the questions (as opposed to being given a list of facts from me), Mowgli is forming dendrites. These are the fundamental building blocks for the all-important cerebral pathways through which true learning takes place. Dendrites are literally the SPARK of knowledge, and they are the scientific basis for the somewhat abstract sapient objectives parents and educators tend to have.

All of that to say, remember that the internet can be a positive platform for learning. You can combine almost anything with open-ended questions to get a conversation going, spark an interest and get synapses firing up a storm!

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