Happy Summer! For teachers who can take a break for rest and recharge, you deserve it. As you think about your summer activities, consider summer reading programs at your community library. Research from the National Summer Learning Association and other organizations confirm that learning declines in the summer, especially for disadvantaged kids. Inspiring kids to continue reading is important. As I indicated in my May 22 blog that is posted on C&NN's Field Notes from the Future (http://www.childrenandnature.org/blog/2011/05/22/where-nature-meets...), one of the ways to inspire kids to continue reading is introducing nature to the process. By choosing age-appropriate books about the natural world (real or fantasy), and then following up the reading with a nature-based activity (or by forming/joining a Family Nature Club), this can be a powerful way to inspire kids to continue learning during the summer. To get a hint about what activities fit with specific age-appropriate books about the natural world, click on C&NN's Family Activities, Family Stories: Where Nature Meets Story (http://www.childrenandnature.org/naturestory/) and take a look at the list of activities. By clicking on an activity, you will be taken to a list of books that relate to that activity.
C&NN is working with a partnership group to start a pilot project this summer with a library in Southern California to test some ideas for a national literacy/nature program with public libraries. I would welcome any and all thoughts about this from you, and especially reports of your own pilot project with your library. Happy Summer to all.
We are so in support of this discussion. Our summer programs have been greatly received and we work with many underserved communities.
Here are a couple initiatives and ideas based on some of our activities - if anyone would like great nature books with activities and totes email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story time, stretch and song
A Chipper Ambassador reads from the eco-educational series Let's Go Chipper Into the Great Outdoors and then we have a "What Did You Learn?" moment. This is a natural transition into roll playing with children. For instance, in "Break it Down with Bruce" kids learn about banana slugs and then we roll up and stretch out like a slug. Kids love the idea that a Banana slugs poop is like vitamins for the soil helping new plants and trees grow so we pretend we are seeds sprouting then growing which takes children to a standing position stretching very tall then waving with the wind or reaching up to the sunshine.
When it is time to sit down for another story we have kids reach down to their toes like a book folding closed and sit down for a new story. This literally has kids so engaged from ten children to over 50 at times. Also, we work with special needs children and both the educators and parents are always amazed at how everything flows so peacefully.
Another acvitity is: Park Revitalization and Story Time
With the weather so nice we invite families and community groups to the park and ask everyone to take five minutes and help pick up and clean up. Then Chipper arrives at the park which has kids running to say hello. From there we sit back down with an ambassador and talk about the wonders of nature, and go into story time. We just recently worked with Head Start and the YMCA to revitalize a park in inner-city San Francisco.
Your work (and Chipper's) is wonderful. Perhaps we could chat off line about how and where you work with public libraries. We are just in the early stages of a pilot project in Southern California which starts on July 11. We have a robust coalition in San Francisco so we are interested in your work there. We eventually want to expand our pilot to a national scale, and include other partners like those you mentioned. YMCA USA has expressed an interest in reviewing our pilot project, and I am visiting with folks from Head Start Body Start and Reach Out and Read. American Camp Assn. and National Summer Learning Assn. is partnering with C&NN on our pilot. California State Parks will be joining our grassroots leaders in San Diego this September to discuss how we can work together, so your work in parks is of interest as well. Thanks for your post. Contact me at email@example.com so we can discuss further. jt
What an excellent site! I know parents will welcome this so I am posting on my class website and emailing the link to parents of my last year's class as well as those of my upcoming class.
Anyone interested in sharing great nature reads for adults? I am always on the look-out for great titles. I am currently re-reading Fools Crow by James Welch. I am the facilitator of a new book club starting up at my local land trust and this is a perfect seasonal title for our fall meeting. It is both a highly engaging story and a great opportunity to learn about Native American connections to the natural world. I highly recommend it (which is why I chose it to get the book club started :-).