Growing Food for the Imagination
Working with children at the RBG gives us wonderful first-hand evidence of the vital role that nature plays in feeding and enlivening children’s imaginations, their creative play and their use of playful language. The diversity of colour, form, texture, light and shade in the Gardens provides a rich and dynamic tapestry that our brains seem to need to ‘reboot’ and see the world afresh. Diversity of fragrance/aroma, temperature, air flow and sound triggers children’s emotions and prompts creative and imaginative responses.
The really cool thing is that children respond with the urge to create characters that they set within a ‘story landscape’. Check out these comments made by kids in term four 2011:
When coming ‘face-to-face’ with Cockscomb Coral Tree (Erythrina crista galli) a Year One girl observed “It looks like a Grandpa tree because of all its wrinkles”, while a fellow student said, “it looks like a race track for bugs!”
Upon ‘meeting’ the QueenslandBottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestris), a Year Two student observed, “this tree looks like it’s eaten way too much chocolate!”
Other comments reflect enthusiasm for ‘other’ interests…”Throwing the (worm) poo balls was the best!”
Or, put quite simply, “I love the Botanic Gardens – it’s the greatest place in the world!”