Over the last four years, Moorland Waldorf School has been developing an innovative nature studies curriculum, which we hope begins to equip our children for the profound reassessment of our relationship to the natural world that their generation will be called upon to make.
Our approach begins with developing in our children a moral relationship towards the natural world. We experience wonder at its magnificence and beauty, and the countless mysteries hidden within it. We learn respect for its intricacies, inter-relationships and symbioses that too often elude our human comprehension. And we practice reciprocity in our interactions with the natural world, ensuring we give back in the same of measure with which we take.
Treading lightly and respectfully into the natural world, we enter it with sharpened senses. This is the beginning of our scientific approach. Ours is not a science that dissects, analyses, and reduces the wonders around us. Instead, it endeavours to comprehend them in all their living complexity.
This year, the focus of our outdoor studies lessons will be a small “rewilding” project on the school grounds. Having fought with nature for years over a small piece of land prone to flooding, we have decided to allow it to be what it wants to be: a bio-diverse willow wetland. The children will help to create this exciting new habitat, and in the process they will learn invaluable lessons.
Bogs and marshes are not necessarily considered attractive landscapes, but they create a haven for insect life. Sometimes insects get a bad press, but their catastrophic decline in recent decades accounts for a parallel decline in our birdlife. By recreating a marshy landscape, we are returning this small piece of land to a state that much of the British Isles existed in before we drained it so extensively for agricultural purposes. By damming and flooding our little wetland, we are performing the function that our indigenous beavers would once have performed.
Throughout the year to come, we will weave our lessons with traditional folklore and indigenous stories. In this way, we both reconnect with and re-mythologise the extraordinary landscape we live in.
In everything we do, our aim is not to burden our children with the scale of the environmental crisis facing us, but instead to point them towards a path of healing.