You will probably have heard of the beautiful book, The Lost Words – you may even have a copy yourself. It began as a response to the decision, in 2007, by the Oxford Junior Dictionary to replace words from nature with modern ‘everyday’ words. As an article by Andrew Brown pointed out: ‘Ivy, lavender, leek, and liquorice in all their quintessential particularities are replaced with EU, committee, common sense and biodegradable.” There was an outcry, including a letter written by many artists, writers and thinkers, who said: “There is a shocking, proven connection between the decline in natural play and the decline in children’s wellbeing.”
So I can’t tell you how proud I am that four talented writers from my Tuesday morning group – Jackie Heath, Sue Hatt, Rennie Halstead and Julia Wheeler – have got together to start a kickstarting campaign to buy a copy of the book to give to every primary school in Kent. This is what they say:
Lost Words Kent is a county-wide crowdfunding campaign to raise money to donate a copy of ‘The Lost Words’ to every primary and special school in Kent and so reseed the magic of nature in the imaginations of children in our classrooms.
The campaign runs Monday 15th October to Thursday 15th November 2018.
Alongside the book, we will provide materials to support its creative and inspirational use by teachers and students beyond the classroom so that ‘The Lost Words’ can become a catalyst for hands-on reconnection with the natural world.
Francis and I have donated to buy a book for each of the special schools, and it would be AMAZING if you were able to join in and buy at least one book – or part of one – for primary schools so that this possible future taken from the introduction to ‘The Lost Words’ by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris doesn’t become our reality….
‘Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed – fading away like water on stone. The words were those that used to name the natural world around them: acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, conker – gone! Fern, heather, kingfisher, otter, raven, willow, wren… all of them gone! The words were becoming lost: no longer vivid in children’s voices, no longer alive in their stories.’
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