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Spring & Autumn Nature Activities for Children, both by Irmgard Kutsch, Floris Books 96pp, pictures, £12.99 ea.

These are the first of 4 volumes; with ‘Summer’ and ‘Winter’ follow.

Irmgard Kutsh is a forester’s daughter who led a Waldorf Kindergarten for 30 years. Noticing an increasing health and behaviour problems among the children, she decided to use her own garden as a place for practical activities for children, parents and teachers

Her books were an instant success, winning praise from Friends of the Earth, politicians and family organisations. They speak to rich and poor, to city and rural dwellers and their roaring success is transforming education.

Visiting the garden 15 times to tell stories I noted the growing confidence in the children, their caring attitude to nature and their enthusiasm for activities such as planting, harvesting, composting, wood-carving, weaving and candle-making.

Singing and storytelling, important in enriching language take place in sitting corner, surrounded by willow saplings.

The books feature fun nature activities to help children engage with the seasons and learn new skills. The spring volume includes building bird boxes, sprouting seeds, planting a garden and making dyes, while the autumn volume includes fruit picking, basket-making, building shelters, feeding the birds, working with beeswax, and making paper

The activities in these books are based on practical experience from the Children’s Nature and Garden Centre in Germany. The children grow up resisting drugs, supporting the environment and using organic methods later in life.

Britain could save on health and prisons, bring down school age to six and building brilliant Kindergartens on brown sites and church greens, transform our country within one generation.

Sibylle Alexander

Summer 2006