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Growing With Nature – a treasured resource from Nature Explore

“Look what I found! Come see, come see!” a four-year-old exclaimed to me recently. We were outside, and she and her classmates were having a grand time exploring the playground. Of course, I immediately went to see what she was so excited about. “I found snow!” she explained, as she pointed to the dusting of snow on the yellow slide. It was just a dusting, for sure, and there was no other snow to be found anywhere else on the playground that sunny winter morning. Yet it was, indeed, a cause for celebration.

The wonder of nature is truly a treasure, and finding ways to tap into that wonder, to help children grow and learn, is key for the early childhood educator. How do you harness that excitement, that surprise at an unexpected observation? How do you expand and extend the learning? How do you record it and asses it? For ideas and answers, I highly recommend a recent publication, titled Growing with Nature: Supporting Whole-Child Learning in Outdoor Classrooms, published through the Nature Explore project (a collaboration of Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation).

This beautiful book shares stories from real classrooms, written by real teachers about real children. Through gorgeous photographs, insightful teacher observations and authentic samples of children’s work, the editors walk us across the curriculum – expertly weaving nature through all aspects of learning – language/literacy; science; social/emotional; mathematics; body competence; visual/spatial and creative arts. The stories come from certified Nature Explore Classrooms, and include infants and toddlers; preschoolers; and elementary aged children.

What I love about this book is that it will inspire both experts and novices in nature-based teaching. The ideas are accessible, and create wonderful starting points for new teachers. At the same time, the depth of the thinking and wealth of examples will push seasoned teachers to explore new areas and reflect on what they currently do.

Many thanks to the folks at Nature Explore for making this top notch resource available.

1 comment to Growing With Nature – a treasured resource from Nature Explore

  • Thanks for letting me know about this book. I am hosting a discussion of the DVD Mother Nature’s Child and this will be a good resource for us. Have you seen this video? It is excellent!

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