The Heron

I believe it is very important for the children to go outside everyday. Unless it’s below 34 degrees or pouring rain, children and adults can enjoy the outdoors in almost any type of climate as long as they have the proper gear.

In early April we were surprised by a heron who took residence at the pond of our local park that we walk to daily. As the toddlers and I walked around the pond, we practiced being very quiet so we could see the heron walk and fly. It was a great opportunity to observe nature and learn about a bird that is not a usual resident at our park.

One day as we approached the park our assistant, Ms. Lily, said, "The heron is eating a fish." As I looked over, there it was with a fish in its beak. The heron was trying to eat it by repeatedly picking it up and throwing it on the shore. 

The sight of the heron was not what fascinated me but. Instead, it was the sight of six toddlers observing quietly for 20 minutes as the heron went through its process of eating the fish. Back and forth it went as the heron wrestled with its meal. When the heron finally ate it, the toddlers all cheered, “It ate it!”

The ability of these young children to observe quietly and focus for 20 minutes was only made possible because of the prepared environment they have been exposed to for the past seven months. Allowing toddlers to focus and concentrate without interruptions helps them to be still, focused, and concentrate on the things that are around them.

Our friend, the heron, continues to make occasional visits to the pond. When the children see it they automatically quiet themselves and stop to observe.