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Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

  • 1.  Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 06-18-2019 08:45 AM
    I apologize if I am doing this incorrectly. I am still getting use to this site, and I am a new member. I wanted to open a discussion about how to successfully implement a nature based program with a connection to either Creative Curriculum or Highscope. Currently, I am using the book The Nature Connection by Clare Walker Leslie, and its wonderful!

    However, I would love some more suggestions and resources to properly create a nature based education.

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    Amanda Mazi
    Director of Early Education
    Kids Academy of Sheffield Lake
    Berea OH
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  • 2.  RE: Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 06-19-2019 10:34 AM
    Hi Amanda,

    Nature-based learning can be incorporated in any curriculum.  You can bring nature inside as well as exploring nature around your Center or School. Here are several resources for you.... not in any particular order.

    1. Adventures Outdoors: Puddles, Mud, and Wind  by Claire Warden these are awesome because it's in a ring holder easy access to take with you wherever you go.
    2. A Little Bit of Dirt 55+ Science and Art Activities to Reconnect Children with Nature: Asia Citro, MEd
    3. Nature Preschool and Forest Kindergartens by: David Sobel
    4. Teaching STEM Outdoors by: Patty Born Selly
    5. I Love Dirt by: Jennifer Ward
    6. Let's Take It OUTSIDE by: Kathy Charner, Mary Rein, and Brittany Roberts
    7. The Stick Book: loads of things you can make or do with a stick by: Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks
    8. Learning with Nature Idea Book by: Nature Explore
    9. NAEYC Spotlight on young children and NATURE
    10. Project Learning Tree: Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood

    Hope I gave you enough resources for you to start.


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    Girija (Molly) Babu
    Membership Chairperson
    GoAEYC
    Rolling Mdws IL
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  • 3.  RE: Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 06-19-2019 05:51 PM
    Hi, I wanted to add a few additional resources:
    ·       Redleaf Press nature-focused books https://www.redleafpress.org/Search.aspx?k=nature (especially Nature Based Learning for Young Children: Anytime, Anywhere on Any Budget)
    ·       Natural Start Alliance https://naturalstart.org
    ·       Children and Nature Network https://www.childrenandnature.org
    ·       Natural Learning Initiative https://naturalearning.org
    ·       National Wildlife Federation https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Educator-Tools
    ·       Forest Kindergarten www.Forestkinder.org
    ·       Project Learning Tree, Project Wild, Project Wet-       https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/projectwild/index.html, https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/projectwet/index.html, https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/plt/index.html
    ·   MN DNR – Why Teach Outside- https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/education/ee/whyteachoutside.html
    ·       I'm a Teacher, get me OUTSIDE here! (Juliet Robertson)  - https://creativestarlearning.co.uk
    ·       Eating Snow -https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/23/463959512/so-you-want-to-eat-snow-is-it-safe-we-asked-scientists
    ·       ECEE Guidelines- https://cdn.naaee.org/sites/default/files/final_ecee_guidelines_from_chromographics_lo_res.pdf
    ·       Temperature Safety - https://www.weather.gov/safety/cold-wind-chill-chart, https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat-index

    Sheila

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    Sheila Williams Ridge
    U of MN Lab School
    Roseville MN
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  • 4.  RE: Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 06-20-2019 10:25 AM
    I would like to remind everyone about International Mud Day usually held on June 29 but our Center is celebrating it on Friday, June 28. Here is the link https://worldforumfoundation.org/workinggroups/nature/mud-day/

    This is a great way to get in touch with nature:)

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    Julie Dey
    Fond Du Lac WI
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  • 5.  RE: Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 07-10-2019 04:38 PM
    Great Resource! Thank you for all the links!

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    Jeanette Antaki
    Livermore CA
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  • 6.  RE: Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 06-30-2019 08:22 AM
      |   view attached
    NatureStart Professional Development Program - Sorry I'm a  little late to respond to this thread on nature play and nature-based early learning but I wanted to share information on this 3-day workshop offered through the Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo.  This coure will prepare you for offering appropriate, meaningful, and engaging experiences in and with nature, indoors and out wherever you are working with young children and their families.  NatureStart is a competency-based program that helps educators develop skills and understanding for how the young child learns and experiences the world around them along with expanding educators confidence and competence to include natural elements and opportunities for risk-taking in nature play.  Join us at any of the NatureStart sessions taking place around the country.  NatureStart is eligible for professional development credential credits.
    For more information:  www.czs.org/NatureStartoCourses

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    Marilyn Brink
    Manager, Professional Development and Early Childhood/ NatureStart Professional Development
    Chicago Zoological Society
    Saint Charles IL
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    Attachment(s)

    docx
    Brookfield Zoo.docx   1.22MB 1 version


  • 7.  RE: Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 06-19-2019 11:25 AM
    I very much like how you asked your question, i.e.how to incorporate and promote.
    I have not yet read the book you mention, but can offer some additional resources. There are many resources available and many allies. Learning with nature nicely aligns with both Creative Curriculum and High Scope and can align with the various state early learning standards.

    Lens on Outdoor Learning by Wendy Banning and Ginny Sullivan could be a great resource.
    Almost anything (books or articles) by Ruth Wilson are great and could be helpful in both getting clear about why to incorporate learning with nature and how to, e.g. Nature and Young Children, Encouraging Creative Play and Learning in Natural Environments.
    One that you may not find in quick searches, but I consider valuable is Young Children and the Environment, edited by Julie Davis and it will provide a comprehensive look at children and nature.
    Eric Nelson's Cultivating Outdoor Classrooms, while emphasizing the design and use of outdoor spaces could be very valuable, and Eric is now also working with Nature Explore. Nature Explore has great resources including books and videos, and they provide workshops and work with centers to develop natural learning supportive outdoor spaces. Nature Explore also does a Leadership Institute every year and it could be a great place to find like-minded colleagues and learning opportunities.
    David Sobel has written many books and articles that you could find valuable, especially Nature preschools and Forest Kindergartens that he edited.
    Claire Warden/Mindstretchers, based in Scotland is a wonderful resource person and has many books, online learning sessions and frequently facilitates and presents in the U.S.
    The Natural Start Alliance would be a good source of support and information.
    Redleaf has a variety of excellent books to guide your work.
    Community Connects articles from Community Playthings include many excellent and relatively short articles.
    "Exchange" the early childhood leaders magazine, regularly has articles related to children learning with nature as well as a regular section sharing work being done globally, and Exchange Press has many good books.
    NAEYC's "Young Children" has had increasingly more articles focusing on nature rich learning, but also articles that demonstrate integration/incorporation.
    Many of the articles and books of Margie Carter and Deb Curtis demonstrate ways of incorporating nature learning.
    Joseph Cornell's books provide valuable guidance for being in nature with children and a recent book, The Sky and Earth Touched Me, also offers suggested experiences to help you and your colleagues connect with nature.

    There is much more, but these come to mind just now.
    I wish you joyful learning on your journey.












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    Gerry Slater, environmental designer-educator
    Design4Kids & Wisconsin Nature Action Collaborative for Children
    Milwaukee WI
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  • 8.  RE: Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 06-19-2019 01:21 PM
    Wow! These are some amazing suggestions and resources! After reading, The Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv I felt moved to push for nature based learning. I can't wait to really dig into your suggestions! Thank you!

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    Amanda Mazi
    Director of Early Education
    Kids Academy of Sheffield Lake
    Berea OH
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  • 9.  RE: Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 06-19-2019 01:12 PM
    As the Early Childhood Program Manager at BRIT and Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, we have a curriculum support and outreach program that is designed to integrate into an existing curriculum. We also offer a professional development series if you happen to be in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Granted, for now our outreach and trainings can only go so far with transportation abilities! However, I can share the basic principle of our programming - to spark interest in natural phenomena that is accessible to almost any population by choosing quality children's literature that highlights parts of nature that exist almost anywhere. We look at grass plants, trees, and wildflowers (dandelions being a highlight that will grow even in the cracks of concrete or through landscaping mulch). We eventually cover ethnobotany with our pre-k students... it sounds fancy, and it is a great scientific word for discussing the human use of plants, like eating or building homes. It's great to tell parents, administration, and others that you are able to cover such subjects with your young ones!

    So my advice would be to find age appropriate books to read together that highlight parts of nature that you can easily explore. The literature provides the spark of curiosity as well as some basic vocabulary for your students to use in discussions. My other advice to you would be to allow yourself to co-wonder with your students - withhold your own knowledge a little bit to let them describe their discoveries and try to place it within their world (those are scientific classification skills, even though young students may not have ever seen the plant before or know the plant name - accurate answers are not the goal, higher level questioning and creative thoughts are). My last bit of advice is just to get outside away from your play structures. Your students know the routine at those structures, so take them somewhere new and establish new routines for that space. I usually choose a neglected part of the grounds so we are not exploring or destroying anything sacred (it also feels a little wild for young children!), then do a safety check for ants and other hazards. Ants do not stop us from exploring an area, but being aware of their presence helps me to guide safely.

    Please feel free to contact me if you have more questions about our curriculum support or programming. Happy exploring!

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    Cheryl Potemkin
    Early Childhood and Family Programs Manager
    BRIT - Botanical Research Institute of Texas
    Fort Worth TX
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  • 10.  RE: Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 06-19-2019 01:25 PM
    And another great FREE resource is the National American Association for Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence in EC Environmental Programs. The downloadable book contains everything you might need to tie practice along with curriculum. Also a great resource for parents on why children's play outside is so important. (naturalstart.org/resources/early-childhood-guidelines-excellence)

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    Nina Betonte
    Little Sunshine House
    Long Beach CA
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  • 11.  RE: Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 06-21-2019 05:56 PM
    So happy you started this! I'm interested too and already love all the book and resource suggestions! Thanks!

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    Laure D
    PreK teacher
    Maryland
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  • 12.  RE: Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 06-22-2019 08:37 AM
    We started a huge gardening project during the end of our GSRP school year, but have continued it on with those student's that are staying with us throughout the summer, and have included our older summer camp children (school- aged children) , also Jr. preschool and our Early Head Start children. The majority of the parents have become involved also. We've built 10 large raised garden beds, and the children have planted a variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Some of the seeds were started earlier in the classroom under a blue light and then taken out to transplant, all the while the teachers have incorporated books on gardening, the environment and healthy eating habits. We also have a compost bin the children helped create and a rain water catch system, so the children can water the garden! It's been a very exciting project for them! We have also placed a garden grow camera on a bed of lettuce, so the children can watch in real time, over time, the growth of the lettuce!
    We have also built a few benches to place out near our garden, with a lending library, to encourage parent's to take their children out to visit the garden, sit and read a book with their child/children. It's been a great success!

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    Taundra Faynor
    Bright Beginnings Learning Center
    Morrice MI
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  • 13.  RE: Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 06-22-2019 08:50 AM
    I'd also like to add to my first message that the children each have a gardening notebook to write in each and everyday to keep records on the progress of the garden and each fruit, vegetable and flower. There are some that write in their notebooks, and others that haven't quite developed to the writing stage, draw pictures ect. Our teacher's then compile all of the children's information they've gathered to assist them in making graphs of each plants progress!  They absolutely love it and many parents have said they are replicating what we are doing at home.

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    Taundra Faynor
    Bright Beginnings Learning Center
    Morrice MI
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  • 14.  RE: Ways to Successfully Incorporate and Promote Nature Based Education

    Posted 07-01-2019 08:54 AM
    Visit www.natureexplore.org.  Lots of ideas of how to connect children with nature, and how to design and use an outdoor classroom.

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    Joanne Osterland
    Executive Director
    Christ Lutheran Preschool
    Dallas TX
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