Playtimes April 2014 - page 36

When children are encouraged to get their
hands dirty and enjoy nature, the whole planet
benefits, writes
Sonia Jackson
ummy, look, a
stick insect!”
exclaimed my four-
year-old daughter,
absolutely beside herself with delight
on having found what she’d been
looking for. She’d spotted it on our
post box as we were leaving home.
She picked it up, studied it carefully,
then placed it on her head for the
morning walk to school.
Her smile was contagious, so
proud was she of her find. Each
morning, she’d guzzle her breakfast
in time to rush out to the garden to
search for all the creatures that may
have arrived during the night, and
usually she wasn’t disappointed. But
this was a special find and her pride
was apparent as she wore it as a fine
I’ve always loved the morning
walk to school, a privilege in Hong
Kong, and I’ve always loved the
children’s school: the Sai Kung
International Pre-School, nestled in
the jungles of Sai Kung.
A friend stopped and asked
whether we’d like a lift. Since we
were running late, I accepted, though
I let her know that we were three
that morning: me, Georgia and our
“friend”. “I am sooo sorry,” she said,
“but I really don’t want that thing in
my car…” and off she went. Georgia’s
big eyes looked at me in utter
bemusement. “Why not, Mummy?” It
was beyond her comprehension that
someone could not love this insect as
much as she did.
Once at school, she showed off
her find proudly, but her friends
reacted with: “Yuck!”, “Ugh”, and
“Go away”. She tried to help them to
befriend it but they weren’t convinced.
The teacher helpfully instructed her
to stand at the front of the class with
the insect in her hand and asked the
students to describe something about
what they saw. This was the start of
a very special relationship involving
Georgia, her teacher Miss Rachael,
who encouraged her to bring in
whatever she wanted, and the anxious
Call of the
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