Why did nature play such an important role in Helen's education?
Helen Keller had an interest in nature even as a toddler. She loved to be out in nature. It brought her both comfort and joy. When learning, the study of nature was a topic of special interest to her. She was especially drawn to science and geography for this reason. Before she lost her sight and hearing, she enjoyed observing nature. Helen recalled a memory from when she was one year old. One day, she was "attracted by the flickering shadows of leaves that danced in the sunlight on the smooth floor" (The Story of My Life, Chapter I). After Helen became deaf and blind, she found solace in nature. Her senses of smell and touch let her enjoy the beauty of nature. When Helen was frustrated, she ran to the garden. She especially loved the flowers there.
After Miss Sullivan came and taught Helen how to communicate, she began teaching her young pupil about nature. Miss Sullivan took Helen to the river, where she finger spelled lessons into her palm. The teacher taught her student everything about nature, from the rain to the sun to the animals. Miss Sullivan taught Helen to appreciate the beauty of nature in new ways.
One day, Helen was caught alone in a fierce storm. She felt the air grow cold and she smelled a change in the air. As the wind picked up speed, Helen hung onto a tree branch. This experience taught her that nature could be dangerous.
Helen had a special interest in the study of physical geography. She enjoyed learning about mountains, rivers, and other physical geographic features. Helen found it to be "a joy to learn the secrets of nature" (The Story of My Life, Chapter XVII).
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