Saturday, August 07, 2010

What NATURE-STUDY should DO for the TEACHER

"During many years, I have been watch-
ing teachers in our public schools in their
conscientious and ceaseless work; and so
far as I can foretell, the fate that awaits
them finally is either nerve exhaustion or
nerve atrophy. The teacher must become
either a neurasthenic or a " clam."

I have had conversations with hundreds
of teachers in the public schools of New
York State concerning the introduction
of nature-study into the curriculum, and
most of them declared, " Oh, we have not
time for it. Every moment is full now! "
Their nerves were at such a tension that
with one more thing to do they must fall
apart. The question in my own mind dur-
ing these conversations was always, how
long can she stand it! I asked some of
them, " Did you ever try a vigorous walk
in the open air in the open country every
Saturday or every Sunday of your teach-
ing year? " " Oh no! " they exclaimed in
despair of making me understand. " On
Sunday we must go to church or see our
friends and on Saturday we must do our
shopping or our sewing. We must go to
the dressmaker's lest we go unclad, we
must mend, and darn stockings; we need
Saturday to catch up."

Yes, catch up with more cares, more
worries, more fatigue, but not with more
growth, more strength, more vigor, and
more courage for work. In my belief, there
are two and only two occupations for Sat-
urday afternoon or forenoon for a teacher.
One is to be out-of-doors and the other
is to lie in bed, and the first is best.
Out in this, God's beautiful world, there
is everything waiting to heal lacerated
nerves, to strengthen tired muscles, to
please and content the soul that is torn
to shreds with duty and care. To the
teacher who turns to nature's healing, na-
ture-study in the schoolroom is not a trou-
ble; it is a sweet, fresh breath of air blown
across the heat of radiators and the noi-
some odor of overcrowded small human-
ity. She who opens her eyes and her heart
nature-ward even once a week finds na-
ture-study in the schoolroom a delight and
an abiding joy.
What does such a one
find in her schoolroom instead of the ter-
rors of discipline, the eternal watching and
eternal nagging to keep the pupils quiet
and at work? She finds, first of all, com-
panionship with her children; and second,
she finds that without planning or going
on a far voyage, she has found health and

I've been reading the first pages of this book HERE thanks to Barb at Handbook of Nature Study. I really thought it was nice to share it! What's amazing about this book is that it was published on 1911 and yet the author seems to be describing our school system nowadays. I whole-heartedly agree with her on finding health and strength through NATURE.


  1. I love your that it is bilingual. My oldest daughter is bilingual in Spanish and I wish I could have cultivated her love of the language as she grew up. She is now loving her time spent with Spanish speaking friends.

    We were a Montessori family too....all four of my children went to Montessori preschool and my daughter stayed at that school until 2nd grade. It is a wonderful way to learn and grow as a child.

    I hope to see you around the OHC more in the near future.

  2. Great post. We are trying to do more with nature study as well.
    Happy Tuesday!


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