Jaime Palacio has always been nature smart. His sense of wonder, excitement, and pride is apparent whenever he brings home a collection of flowers, branches, leaves, rocks, or even bugs. His passion for animals is evident in the various pets he has had and wants to have. His toy animals number to almost 200, he knows the different names and characteristics of dinosaurs, and he avidly watches animal videos from National Geographic and Discovery Channel. He even has a few theories of his own regarding dinosaurs. His interest has now furthered into the earth itself, asking about volcanoes and asteroids.
Presently, Jaime is fascinated with insects. He has already brought home centipedes, lady bugs, dragonflies, and spiders. But two of his favorites were a butterfly with a torn wing and a big black beetle. He cared for the butterfly one afternoon, then let it go in a field where he said, “It can hide and get better.” The beetle even went with Jaime to school. He wondered about what it eats and gave it bread plus cotton soaked in water to drink. Later, he added leaves, branches, and toy animals so it can play. He was excited when a lettuce leaf had holes the next day. It was still active when he sadly set it free.
Being very articulate, Jaime excitedly narrates how dinosaurs became extinct. He talks intensely about mammoth hunters and what they did to the poor woolly mammoths. Once, we watched a documentary about elephants and how in the process of bringing them to a conservation area in Africa, mother elephants were killed because they were too big to transport. Jaime’s eyes brimmed with tears as he empathized with the young elephants and expressed anger at what was done.
Jaime is fortunate to be in a school that encourages his questions and interests. His teachers attentively listen and let him express his creativity and imagination in various ways. While most children use wooden blocks to build towers, Jaime also uses them to make dinosaurs. He cuts paper and tapes them together to create dinosaurs, making sure it looks as 3-dimensional as possible. He has carefully sorted red aquarium stones in a container and shaken them vigorously to enact a volcanic eruption.
Jaime’s curiosity and ideas are supported in preschool while ensuring he learns essential concepts and develops necessary skills. He is having fun while learning and is thus eager to learn more. The goal of education should not merely be to fill our children's brains with facts, figures, and drills, but to encourage children to have and to express wonderful thoughts because it is with new ideas that our world advances and progresses. A good education will help form children into creative thinkers, as well as eager and independent learners who have the confidence to share and test their ideas. Gaining these qualities in school will lead to a bright future for Jaime because he would have what one needs to excel… a strong belief in himself, perseverance to pursue his dreams, and a desire to make a difference.