Fall sits in the West on the Medicine Wheel as do the moon, water and adulthood. One of the most beautiful and relevant gifts we have as educators is the world around us. Fortunately, land-based education is accessible to everyone and can be as easy as a mindful walk in the park.
Fall is a time of transition in nature but as humans, we often find change difficult. The moon teaches us that change, while inevitable, can also be beautiful. As grandmother bathes the world in the amber light of the harvest moon, the land responds with her own grand displays of beauty. From the plants last vibrant displays, to the southward journeys of the flying ones, the hibernation of the crawlers and the thickened fur of the four leggeds, each of us feels and responds to the lengthening darkness. All curricula allow space for reflection, consider a silent reflective walk to reconnect your students to the land in this time of transition and change.
Water’s lesson is just as obvious in the fall. Streams, rivers and lakes slow to a crawl and grow a thick protective layer of ice. This blanket of ice creates the conditions that all inhabitants need to take a long, well deserved rest. But even ice moves. The lesson that comes to me from water is that, as we move in to our routines we must honour and protect our learners with the time and space that they need to settle in, and like water, they must continue to move in their learning. Consider using the changing state of water as an analogy for shifts in your subject matter or strategies to bring the language of the land into your learning.
Adulthood on the medicine wheel is the time of responsibilities, hard work and tough decisions but also the time when our gifts become clear. When the leaves fall to the earth they will benefit the creatures that use them for shelter and warmth. They will decompose and provide the basis from which plants will grow in the spring. When we let go of those things that no longer serve us, it will have not only a great benefit to ourselves but to everything around us. Help learners transition through this season by modeling the process of letting things go and making space to accommodate new learning and learning products.
Land-based education for all is a tangible form of reconciliation, in many ways, land-based can simply be “in the language of the land” and learning this language requires only our attention.