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Making It Up As We Go Along

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Originally appears in the Winter 2007 issue

The caribou are restless. They sniff and shuffle behind me, waiting for the migration to begin. No, we’re not in the far north. We’re in Vancouver, in the temperate rainforest, and we’re about to embark on an imaginary journey — a seasonal caribou migration.

I love to work with preschool and kindergarten classes. This is because I have the mentality of a five-year-old: I love to pretend. Over nearly a decade of working with kids, I’ve been caught sliding on the ground like a slug and line dancing like a spider building its web. And they pay me to do this.

Why play pretend games when there’s a real world out there with worms and bugs and cedars and streams to explore? Environmental educators have two great resources. One is nature. The other is imagination. When we combine the two, magic happens! So, let’s explore the imagination side of the equation and look at what pretend games offer in environmental education. They:

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Tricia Edgar coordinates education programs at the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre in North Vancouver, British Columbia.