Hi folks!
I am a mom with a MS in geology and a love to connecting children with nature. I have recently "taken the plunge" and signed up to present at the local education conferences. I have taught third grade before becoming a mama and now I stay home and have a small nature based daycare. But I want to know from you guys working in schools what are the most important things for me to talk about at these conferences 1) why nature play is important; 2) how to use nature as a tool for learning subject matter.... what else? What do early childhood educators need to really make outdoor education accessible and not daunting?

Thanks for your time, Shannon
aka Backyard Mama

Views: 290

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Deb,
Wonderful that you connected with Avery to obtain the Nature Circles Cards and that you will be donating some at the conference. That is exactly what they are for. Keep us posted on the impact the Nature Circles Cards have on the kids. All stories are good stories, and I hope you will share them on the Natural Teachers Network. Glad we are Facebook friends as well, also a good place to share stories. Let's stay in touch. John



Deb "Tdeb" said:
Hello John,

You will be pleased to hear I did order some Nature Circle cards from Avery...they are absolutely awesome! I plan to order more. I loved them so much, I laminated them just to make sure they would be weatherproof for my outings. I am also going to donate some as door prizes for a conference I am associated with in hopes it will create some awareness.

I have not seen the "Growing up Wild" resource. Thanks so much for the referral, I will check it out. It sounds great.

I am so tickled to have found you all, you are so helpful. Please know you make a world of difference!!!

Thank you !!

Nature Hugs,
Deb

John Thielbahr said:
Hello Deb and welcome to the Natural Teachers Network. A couple of suggestions about getting started on the path to connect children with nature in their everyday lives in preschools. Nature Circle Cards offer a simple and effective way to get started for both preschool teachers and parents. Click on www.naturecircles.org for more information. Also, there is a new nature-based curriculum for ages 3-7 published by Project WILD called Growing Up Wild. It is very good work and in some states there is training available. Click on www.projectwild.org/GrowingUpWILD.htm for more information. Thank you for your interest in getting started connecting kids to nature. John


Deb "Tdeb" said:
Hello Juliet,
I really enjoyed what you had to say about preschool teachers needing reassurance and practical guidance. Nature education is just not an option offered at local conferences. I hope to see more presenters offering ideas for teachers. Thank you for your inspiration.
Where do I find your link to "I'm a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here!"
Nature Hugs,
Deb

Juliet Robertson said:
Hello Jennifer

Thanks for your kind words.

I've uploaded a pdf of a recent presentation onto my page in the "I'm a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here!" section. I'm not too sure if it's helpful because I tend to just use slides to support the talk and the interactive activities and have music playing when the research section comes up. Any questions, please ask.

Best wishes
Juliet

PS You will find me quoting your blog and several others I've come across on C&NN Connect at future events as a great source of information and ideas! It's been one of the pluses of this international network.
Hi John and Everyone Else

The Nature Circles and Project Wild activities are great and it amazes me that Project Wild is still going strong - I remember their work from the Nineties! For UK visitors to this discussion, there are lots of good packs available and websites too including:
Nature Detectives
The outdoor learning pack for primary school teachers
Jennifer K who contributed earlier to this discussion has a super outdoor pre-school blog.
Occasionally I have pre-school postings on my blog too but not with the same frequency as Jennifer.

Deb - All the best with the stick work! I'm musing over the idea of putting together a "portable play space" that will fit in the back of my car. The aim is to actively show pre-school staff what can be done with a few natural materials, re-used household items and handy bags to transform the most grim outdoor space (and believe me, there's a lot around my area) on a small budget. Normally I use photos but perhaps a real example will help too!

Freely-over-flowing ideas all around! Cheers to all!
Juliet
The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs, New York has a new "Forest Kindergarten" program where kids learn totallly outside every day. You can learn more about it at www.waldorfsaratoga.org . If you need a connection there, I have one. Your presentation will be wonderful because you are a child of nature already. Deep breaths. John

Shannon Baer said:
thanks to everyone for these great resources and suggestions. I have quite the presentation sturring inside me! I went to Waldorf School my entire life, so a lot of my schooling was nature based and outdoors, so I come at this from a very experiential background and so it's helpful to have some ideas from folks who really know the types of issues "normal" school teachers deal with.

Thanks so much.. I will read and reply individually as I have time.. I am barely treading water keeping up right now!
Shannon
Hi Shannon!
Hope I am not posting this too late for your upcoming presentation! I am sure with your experience working with children you will have plenty to share and lots of inspirational stories.
I am piloting a nature immersion program in a public school for kindergarten and 1st grade. We ( staff and faculty) all understand the importance of connecting children with nature,...but one of the main issues that comes up in these pilot programs is clothing! The right clothing, and aquiring that clothing for all the children. Clothing drives, asking for donations, sewing parties for rain pants and fleece pullovers, making leggings out of old wool sweaters,...and LOTS of mittens!
It's amazing how many children have never worn rain pants or pulled down their "snow skirt" over their boots. Communication with parents and caregivers is essential in this realm. Finding out what they have and what they need. One of the biggest lessons is learning how to take care of ourselves, so we may take of others, so then we can take of the Earth!
So, if I was asked about the most important logisitic of getting children outside,....it would be clothing! Happy engaged children are not thinking of their cold wet feet!
Hope that's helpful,...it's a been a commonly asked question and an ongoing chore in my work!

Best,
Amy
Thank you Amy- It's funny for me, cause as a child we always had those outdoors clothes and it never was an issue and now my son has that stuff because going outside is a major part of our life. But what a great idea/ suggestion/ comment! It could also be a wonderful contribution of The Backyard Mama to our local school district!! (since I am always thinking of ways to give back too!)

Thank you so much, Shannon

Amy Butler said:
Hi Shannon!
Hope I am not posting this too late for your upcoming presentation! I am sure with your experience working with children you will have plenty to share and lots of inspirational stories.
I am piloting a nature immersion program in a public school for kindergarten and 1st grade. We ( staff and faculty) all understand the importance of connecting children with nature,...but one of the main issues that comes up in these pilot programs is clothing! The right clothing, and aquiring that clothing for all the children. Clothing drives, asking for donations, sewing parties for rain pants and fleece pullovers, making leggings out of old wool sweaters,...and LOTS of mittens!
It's amazing how many children have never worn rain pants or pulled down their "snow skirt" over their boots. Communication with parents and caregivers is essential in this realm. Finding out what they have and what they need. One of the biggest lessons is learning how to take care of ourselves, so we may take of others, so then we can take of the Earth!
So, if I was asked about the most important logisitic of getting children outside,....it would be clothing! Happy engaged children are not thinking of their cold wet feet!
Hope that's helpful,...it's a been a commonly asked question and an ongoing chore in my work!

Best,
Amy

I just came across this and thought it would be interesting to the group: 

Reflections on Forest Schools

http://bit.ly/fRFrpa 

 

It contains some deep thinking about the Forest School ethos - what Forest Schools offer, how they're different from other learning environments, the training involved, and some of the challenges in establishing one.

 

I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on the piece and any experiences you're having in similar environments.

I am so glad that I found this.  I just wish that it was a year ago.  I am looking for more information on including nature in all aspects of our preschool program.   The posted ideas are a good start and  I would like to share these with my co teachers.  ANy other suggestions or ideas would be welcome.  The idea of introducing concepts in a natural context is so ...... natural !

 

Thanks.

Hi Sylivia

Basically it's worth considering with your co-workers what and how you imagine nature based learning/play to be in your establishment.

- What would everyone be saying and doing?

- What resources - loose and fixed would you have?

- What opportunities would the children have for nature based exploration and play?

 

Then make a step-by-step plan for getting there. Oh gosh, that sounds way too simple...! The following publications will help you on your journey...

A "lens on outdoor learning" book by Wendy Banning  

The NAEE Guidelines for Early Childhood Environmental Education Programs.

Claire Warden of Mindstretchers in Scotland has written some very good books too.

I love all the replies here. Working with kids, and observing the parent-child interaction I always want to encourage everyone to inspire the "freedom of play" when kids are outside. Many kids lead very structured lives so when it comes to play they are at a loss. By just encouraging a child through questions you will excite their curiosity. So my idea for you is to speak on the importance of "natural play" allowing the child to engage and lead the activity. Ask questions. For kids under six years old - the questions will lead them into thinking about: shapes and sizes, counting, problem solving, and emotionally - being more sensitive.

 

Cheers,

stephanie

RSS

© 2019   Created by amy pertschuk.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service