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 !!
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!"
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 !
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.