The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart. – Helen Keller

Being Green.  Thinking Green.  Outdoor Green.  Garden Green.

To bring children in touch with the natural world it is important to set the example of what it is to be "green".  The best and easiest way is to engage children in hands on activities, creating with materials, observing in the outdoors, modeling being green, and allow the environment to be the third teacher. 

Our school THINKS organically GREEN; we recycle, we reuse, re-purposed items, and think how we can save on energy.   We all are children of nature and we love the outdoors.  At our school we have beautiful butterfly garden, 5 senses garden, vegetable garden, and Michigan Native Garden.  

Gardening with children allows children to see nature in a natural organic process.  Using our five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell) is a great way to interact with the natural world and to learn and experience things you have never noticed before. 

Think of every time a child walks outside that they are using all their Five Senses. Be mindful of not only what you see, but what you can hear, smell, feel — even...with caution...taste!

Every year in the spring we start a gardening "Sunflower Hut" project.  We play in dirt.  We plant seeds indoors, plan how we are going to layout then plant the hut, tend to the garden, and harvest an annual sunflower hut.  Its a beautiful way to involve children in the full circle of plant life.  It is a process; we involve the children in every step of the way.   Children get to see nature by; observing, thinking, drawing, touching, counting, creating with clay, sticks, paint, watercolors, and oil pastels to name a few ways the children work with nature and natural materials all hands on experiences.    The children even document it.  As you can see in the above photo.  

This is the second consecutive year that Building Blocks Preschool in Highland has been awarded this honor. In its award to Building Blocks Preschool, the Green Schools awards committee cited, “It takes extra time, effort, planning, and drive to implement the initiatives outlined in the Green Schools Program. We appreciate your involvement and leadership in coordinating the Green Schools program as well the efforts of the students, staff, parents, volunteers and school community.” Please go to http://www.michigangreenschools.us/  On the home page you will see one another one of our students observing and documenting the sunflowers in the hut. 


 As Helen Keller suggested, the gifts of our senses can lead us to beautiful discoveries.  For me, the sound of children playing outdoors, leads me back to a memory of my childhood, and how much I loved being outdoors playing in our 2 acre back yard, our school and our green commitment bring me full circle to nature, where I discover what it really means to see, even when my eyes are closed.

How do you see nature? Comment below.

For more information about our school visit; www.BuildingBlocksschool.com

 

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Comment by Katie Kunze on January 23, 2013 at 8:31pm
I wish there were many more schools who were as passionate about No Child Left Inside. So many of them just look at me when I share my ideas and the workshops I have attended and tell me that there is no place for it and to concentrate in other areas of study. It's so disheartening but it gives me so much hope when I hear of a school like yours. Keep up the amazing work!!!!!
Comment by Suzanne Gabli on January 17, 2013 at 7:41am

Thank you,  Katie, for your positive comment!  Much appreciated. We are very passionate about No Child Left Inside.  We continue to share the message to everyone we meet. Warmly, on this very cold Michigan day!

Comment by Katie Kunze on January 14, 2013 at 9:04pm
It makes me happy to hear about green school initiatives here in Michigan. I live about 20 miles outside of Detroit and it gets to be very frustrating when the kids aren't interested in being outside. Thanks for the positive note!

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