Tag Archives: the lost words

Lost words

I haven’t written a blog post in months, my winter was ok, but on reflection, I think during terms 3 and 4, I was in coping mode and had so little headspace to think and reflect, I felt I had nothing to say. The Easter break, getting back to my regular swimming routines, a bit of travelling around and seeing people and the sunshine has hugely boosted my energy, thinking capacity, and mood.

This first week back in term five has been a delight with the children. This week we have been bug hunting; it is a gentle activity to do, it encourages children to notice, slow down; it’s a mindful activity. It’s also a helpful activity to link to feelings and emotions. There are often comments about being a bit scared of specific bugs and noticing what bugs do when they are afraid of us. We talk about how we feel and how we know when we are scared and what we do. One boy told me he was scared of spiders as they might jump out at him, and if they are hairy, they are poisonous; I reassured him we wouldn’t find a poisonous spider here. For this boy, telling me something scared him was a positive step. Until now, he often shows that he is strong, nothing scares him, and we were able to talk about how it is ok to be scared and what we can do when we are afraid how it can be important to notice when our body is telling us we are scared.

I noticed with lots of the children and their friends that joined in was the lost words. They didn’t know the names of bugs; some children thought flies were bees, another child thought worms were snakes, children thought a dandelion was a sunflower or a buttercup, children didn’t know the name for a slug or a beetle. At first, I thought this was one small group, but then I saw it repeated in 8 schools over the week. It has made me wonder, is this unique to the children I am working with?. I wonder if this is Covid related?. Is it due to the enormous amount of time children have missed out on their last year of the nursery? Or the lack of opportunity for them to be outside and explore the awe and wonder around. I would be interested to know if others have noticed this.

For the next few weeks, we are going to continue thinking about bugs, learning names of bugs and flowers and what we see around us; I am hoping to replace those lost words for the children.

Lost words

 

Over the last few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about The Lost Words. In 2017 Robert Macfarlane wrote a book based on the lost words that had been left out of the children’s Oxford English dictionary. The words that had been left out were based around nature. The book was illustrated by Jackie Morris, I think it is one of the most beautiful books I have seen, and since it’s publication I have bought several copies for family members. Some of the words include conker, ivy, bramble, dandelion, otter, starling.

 

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The lost words book inspired an exhibition of letter cutters, curated by the lettering arts trust which opened a few weeks again in Snape Maltings, my husband is one of the artists who exhibited, he carved the word, Otter. We went to the opening of the show, this reminded me again how so many of our children are becoming disconnected with nature and the world around them.

 

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The last few weeks in my nurture work we have been exploring nature, looking for bugs, making nature pictures, finding beauty around us. These are sensory activities I regularly do with the children I work with, but the last few weeks I have been more intentional about naming all the things we find. Naming dandelions and forget me not, the blossom from the tree, naming the birds we see, sparrow, robin, blackbird. I want to make sure the children I work with know these names, by knowing names it helps us to connect, by connecting with nature we are more likely to want to take care of it.