The Salamander Room: Our Celebration of Earth Day

“We really want to raise awareness this year about salamanders.” ~ Tom Cleveland

salamanderFor several months nature has been a strong focus of interest in my classroom.  We have explored butterfly migration, pumpkins, hibernation, climate change, and now, in honour of Earth Day, we have been learning about salamanders.  Perhaps you are wondering, “Why salamanders?”  The answer is this. One of my favourite books to share with children is Anne Mazer’s The Salamander Room.  The story is about a little boy who finds a salamander in the forest and wants to take it home. His mother asks him many questions about how the salamander will survive there.  With each reply the boy gives, we see through the illustrations that his bedroom transforms into a forest that has all the things a salamander would need – companions, trees, insects, birds, rocks and more. For young children reading this book this is quite magical.

After reading the story, the children researched some interesting facts about salamanders. ??????????????????????????????? For example, they look like lizards, and they eat worms, flies, beetles, spiders and sometimes other smaller salamanders.  They live in or near water, they can regenerate lost limbs, they are nocturnal, and some are poisonous.  The children drew pictures of their favourite part of the book, and were able to integrate the new information they learned with what they learned from the story.  In addition, we created our own images from the book, for display on a bright bulletin board – our own magical salamander room!  Finally, a colleague at school who is an expert about reptiles and amphibians spoke to the children about salamanders.  He even brought a salamander in an aquarium and the children had the opportunity to spend the day observing it and to make sense of all they had been learning.  They spent long periods of time looking into the aquarium in wonder.

the salamander roomThe Salamander Room is a poignant story about the beauty of nature and all that it can awaken in a child’s imagination.  It is about understanding the relationship that humans have with nature and our responsibility to respect the plants and animals that share the Earth with us, and that sustain our lives.  I find that a beautiful story can open up a child’s understanding of such important concepts and about our place in the circle of life.  Perhaps the most important message of the story is that each time the boy describes what the salamander needs in order to survive, and makes a case for bringing it home, he is saying he understands that the salamander can only be at home where the boy found him – in nature.  I hope you will share this book with children, for its beauty, its magic and all it can teach them about being gentle with living things and developing a love for the natural world.

“When we recognize the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection, love is born.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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This entry was posted in Activities to Enjoy, Curriculum in Early Childhood, Teacher Education, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Salamander Room: Our Celebration of Earth Day

  1. Sonia chavez says:

    Fantastic story and how the concepts of nature, beauty and survival are exposed to young children. Thanks for sharing Angelique. Pls contact me through Facebook or private email. Will love to meet up and catch up on our lives. All the best. Sonia.
    416-538-1121; schavez@rogers.com

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