Phenomenology as a Voice of Childhood

  • Barbara Weber


Introduction: When we conducted a qualitative study about “nature” with German and Canadian children in 2014, we began the community of inquiry with seemingly simple questions that engaged with the children’s sensations, feelings and associations.1 We asked: “What is the first thing that comes to your mind, when you think of “nature”?” And as a follow-up question: “Can one smell, taste, hear, see nature? If so, how?” Here is how one group of children responded: Nate, 15 years: “... one can‚ switch off one’s brain when I think about nature, for example, when sitting on the lake, to feel the nature, for one hour to not think about all the terrible things, all the problems of mankind.” Liza, 12 years: “So, I really enjoy nature, for example when I go for a walk with my parents and listen to the birds singing, this I really enjoy.” Rick, 11 years: “Most of the time peace and sometimes like shock.” […] Patrick, 10 years: “So, I can imagine that one can be excited; [… for example] lightening is nice and bright and beautiful; that is to say when one looks at it from somewhere safe. But when you are not somewhere safe then it is not only beautiful ... I mean, it is still fascinating, but when you are standing there in open nature, then you are also afraid, I think.” 2