ERIC Number: EJ913814
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 13
Aesthetics and a Sense of Wonder
Wilson, Ruth A.
Exchange: The Early Childhood Leaders' Magazine Since 1978, n193 p24-26 May-Jun 2010
Rachel Carson (1956)--scientist, writer, and environmentalist--states that "A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement". Many people have heard and been inspired by these words, but may not have a clear idea about what wonder really is. This isn't surprising, because wonder in different contexts can mean different things. As used by Carson, wonder refers to a "clear-eyed vision," a "true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring". Wonder in this context is something one feels (an emotion), but also a "way of knowing" based on intuition or natural instinct. The sense of wonder is much more pronounced in children than in adults. Reflections of this can be seen in the way young children respond to and interact with certain elements of nature. Children's way of relating to the world corresponds to their unique way of knowing the world--that is, a way based more on wonder than analytical thought. In working with young children, adults often acknowledge the importance of aesthetic development. Providing aesthetic experiences and fostering their sense of wonder can help children see "potential beauty" as well as the beauty being experienced in the moment. For many adults, that marvelous gift of wonder they enjoyed when they were children becomes "dimmed and even lost before they reach adulthood." To keep the spark of wonder burning in their daily lives, it may be helpful to consider how children experience wonder. Another way to keep the spark of wonder alive is to surround themselves with beauty.
Descriptors: Young Children, Child Development, Aesthetics, Fantasy, Cognitive Processes, Child Psychology, Emotional Experience
Exchange Press, Inc. P.O. Box 3249, Redmond, WA 98073-3249. Tel: 800-221-2864; Fax: 425-867-5217; e-mail: info@ChildCareExchange.com; Web site: http://www.childcareexchange.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A