Miller Fellow Blog
Wednesday, 10 March 2021 04:49

A Crystal in the Creek Featured

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Children play in the creek at Agraria learning and ecological center. Children play in the creek at Agraria learning and ecological center.

“We found a crystal, we found a crystal!” a little girl jumps up and down on the creek shore. Colorful pebbles shake beneath her feet as she lands with a thud. Her smile is wide; stretching ear to ear. She points to a large, winding tree root sticking out of the mud.  A glimmering, pink rock is squeezed between the two roots. The girl presented the crystal to me as if it were on display at a museum. She was very proud of the discovery. 

At the same time, a little boy chipped away at the crystal with another rock. “Ooooff,” he sighed, “we are going to get this crystal out.” They were determined. Throughout the trip this team of young geologists found different ways of extracting the crystal. 

The first was to hit it with another rock, and the second was to pull it out  with a stick twice their height, shaped like a pair of pliers. They worked all afternoon, reporting their progress to their peers as they cycled through different tools. Despite their determination, the crystal stayed put. Soon, it came time for the duo to make another plan. They decided to continue extracting the crystal during their next visit. 

 Agraria- the local outdoor ecological and educational center, has become a familiar place for kindergarten this year. They’ve gotten to know the land: exploring the maze and Jacoby Creek, making it a special place for them. A place they want to come back to. The crystal is another reason to come back. Both the little girl and boy decided that on their next visit they would continue with their work. Having a longstanding project at Agraria, not only bonds the children to the land in meaningful ways, but it demonstrates the importance of child directed play. The children found the crystal for themselves and imbued its retrieval with a sense of purpose. They’re looking forward to the next time they can work on extracting the glistening crystal from the creek.

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