Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Suzuki Foundation and teachers make connecting kids with nature part of the lesson plan - thestar.com

Suzuki Foundation and teachers make connecting kids with nature part of the lesson plan - thestar.com

You'll have to excuse me if these next few items aren't timely. I save them when I see them and rarely have time to post them.  Regardless of when they were written they're still very pertinent.

Full article can be read from the link above.   
Mother Nature is not far beyond the classroom door. But when schoolchildren go looking for her, it often involves bus rides, permission slips and expeditions to conservation areas.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Especially this fall, when teachers of Grades 4 and 6 will have a new tool to get kids outside and immersed in the nature at their fingertips.

Connecting with Nature is a new educational guide developed by the David Suzuki Foundation and Nipissing University’s Schulich School of Education. The 170-page book is available for free on the foundation’s website.

“It expands the walls of the classroom, it goes beyond the blackboard and gets (students) out there using their senses as they learn,” says Jenny Guibert, one of two project managers for the guide and an education instructor at Nipissing’s Brantford campus. “It’s how kids get that instant connection with nature.”

....That’s why the 16 lesson plans — aligned with the Ontario curriculum — include activities like a walkabout in the schoolyard to identify nature, and treks through the neighbourhood to find sources of water, pollinators and to track how many people are walking, cycling, driving or waiting at bus stops. These then become springboards for discussing topics like biodiversity, water conservation and green transportation.

.....Until recently, the focus was on teaching kids about issues like recycling and climate change. Now, it’s on cultivating a love of nature first, and helping children recognize and appreciate it exists.“That has to be the starting point, especially with that age group,” says Clare. “You want to build on that sense of wonder.”

.....The Toronto District School Board is enthusiastic because it fits with their initiatives to promote“eco-schools” and recent plans to convert parts of schoolyards into “nature study areas,” says board superintendent Jeff Hainbuch.  ......“You can’t learn about that connectedness just from a textbook,” he says. “But you don’t have to go to an outdoor ed centre to do that either.”

Jordan Tamblyn remembers what it’s like to be a kid catching frogs, picking flowers and exploring the woods near her cottage...... “Kids inherently want to go outside and that’s where they do most of their learning,” says Tamblyn.

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