“It’s the first snow of the year!”
“I saw the first robin today.”
“Did you see the rose bud in the front yard?”
Nourishing an atmosphere of wonder by keeping a Calendar of Firsts creates a sense of excitement and awe about God’s creation.
Charlotte Mason said:
It is a capital plan for children to keep a calendar—the first oak-leaf, the first tadpole, the first cow-slip, the first catkin, the first ripe blackberries, where seen, and when. The next year they will know when and where to look out for their favourites, and will, every year, be in a condition to add new observations.
Nature becomes a friend that returns each season to visit. The children look forward to these visits and know when to expect them.
How can you begin to keep such a calendar? If you are like me, you probably receive an extra calendar or two in the mail each year from various organizations. One of those will work quite well. You could also use a perpetual calendar.
Next, make it a habit to notice new occurrences in nature—the first flower bud, the first tree budding, the first butterfly, the first fallen leaf in autumn. Once you begin to notice these, it becomes second nature. Make it a habit to write them down on your calendar on the day you observe them. If you notice that you haven’t written any “firsts” on the calendar for a while, look for one the next day. It’s not as important to record something every day as it is to make a habit of observing nature and recognizing when to expect those firsts.
Then, each year compare your Calendar of Firsts entries with the previous year’s entries to find similarities and differences. Did the robins come about the same time or did they arrive early this year? Did the first snow of the winter season arrive earlier?
Need a blank calendar to record your observations? We’ve used this one to record our nature observations.