“A weed is just a plant whose virtues have not yet
been discovered.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Taking a walk recently with our preschool children we came across a small patch of dandelions. My first thought was to run into the patch, pick a flower which had gone to seed and blow its head.
As a child I would spend hours making necklaces or crowns and blow the seeds of the parachute ball. Summer to me as a child was synonymous with dandelions.
Many consider the dandelion a pesky weed which ruins their lawn. Dandelions, however, represent true beauty, inside and outside. On
the outside they are beautiful to look at with their bright yellow petals or snowy white fluffy seed head. On the inside they offer many medicinal and culinary uses.
A dandelion will grow under almost all conditions, dry or wet, light or dark. it will put roots down almost anywhere, and is almost impossible to destroy. A dandelion is a survivor in even the harshest conditions.
Wherever you plant a dandelion seed, you will be sure to see one blooming in the near future. So why not use dandelions to plant and spread our messages of hope for the care of planet Earth?
For a week we collected seeds, with some children bringing in jars full of seeds from their own garden at home. We added the seeds to the pulp we had been making as part of our paper recycling process. This resulted in our own recycled paper with embedded dandelion seeds, which we cut into small labels.
All that was left to do now is to write our messages of hope and share
them around. The children had compiled several messages, from “hundreds of buzzy bees in this world so we can have some honey”, to “don’t step on the snail because it is a living thing”.
As people plant the paper label into the soil, they will also plant a message of hope. Just like the dandelion, the message will spread and bloom, anytime, anywhere!
Today’s children are much more removed from the natural world. While they may be more knowledgeable and know more facts about planet Earth, their hearts are less connected with our beautiful world. Children need an adult to share the miracles and wonders of the natural world with them.
I cannot give you a dandelion paper label but folklore says that blowing the seeds off a dandelion will carry your thoughts and dreams to your loved ones. So I am going outside now and blow the dandelion seeds in our garden.
As they get carried by the wind, across the Earth, my dream will be
that you will be the adult who will take the time to share with a child the virtue of the dandelion. Together we can open the heart of our children to the beauty and wonder of the Earth and spread messages of hope at the same time.
Guest Blogger Bio: Anja Geelen is creator, editor, author & designer behind the Little Eyes on Nature blog and the Little Eyes on Nature website. She is the principal of Tawa Montessori Preschool, a small Montessori pre-school in Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Little Earth Montessori Kapiti, a new enviro Montessori preschool in Kapiti. Anja is passionate about sharing nature with young children, as well as promoting this concept to educators world-wide. Follow Anja on Twitter @eyesonnature.