Liana Using nature in the classroom has given me an opportunity to engage the children in meaningful exploration of the world around them, using their own experiences and drawing from their own lives. For our community of children this has helped them to become better observers of their own environment and given them the skills to look, to process, to question. As a teacher this programme has given me a framework to expand learning possibilities, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom, using the children's observations and new motivations to guide my lessons.
Chiara “The woodlice live inside the log and they are dark, they roll up because they're shy!” ~A child. Both in art and visual spatial lessons the children had clear ideas and fun artistic interpretations of really small animals in nature. Connecting science in my lessons has helped to reinforce the language learnt. The children were more willing to pay attention to something they knew and they enjoyed. Nature brings a lot of interest, the children can touch, feel, see, discover and learn to respect what is around them, especially living things!
Andrea Through looking at small animals and natural materials the children have developed the skills to focus their visual attention, this has extended through to other areas of their school work. I have found that they are more engaged when using natural materials within my maths lessons. The children were able to develop a better understanding of many mathematical concepts such as recognition of colours, matching, patterns, and size by using natural objects such as leaves, rocks, wood, and small creatures. I was able to increase motivation to complete mathematical problem solving tasks such as addition, subtraction, regrouping and measuring by using examples based on the nature theme, in which children are very interested.
Iwona Integrating Nature in music provided many opportunities for children to interpret what they had learnt in their science lessons, both through movement, drama and instrumental music. Children explored the movement and sounds of creatures and incorporated much of what they had learnt about where these creatures lived, and how they moved. Using music with nature gave children more opportunities to extend their learning and understanding of both subjects. The children are becoming more sensitive to the sounds around them in nature and this experience has opened their ears to the world.
Jessica Teaching nature through many levels of the curriculum has been an exciting and educational experience both for the children and ourselves as teachers. As our children have had all aspects of nature incorporated through their lessons they have brought new and innovative ideas, insights and questions into their learning experience. Their level of comprehension has increased dramatically. Exploring the natural world in such a sensory way has enabled all the children to engage with the lessons and explore in their own unique ways.
Sheila Children with communication, developmental and learning delays find practical and visually based activities much easier to access than typical learning based cues. When outside, moving through and physically engaging with the natural world they can quickly focus their attention and interact with the environment, and other people at their own developmental level. This gives such feelings of success that self-esteem and confidence is increased, in turn leading to more listening and understanding. Adults can talk with a child using his/her focus of interest such as an earthworm; helping the child develop vocabulary and expressive skills which he/she will more easily retain and use in the future.
Dawn I believe that entering the micro-environments of the natural world offers children new perspectives on life and in building a relationship with nature they can find, as Rachel Carson suggests, 'reserves of strength that will endure as long as life itself ' (Sense of Wonder). Watching our community of children build these reserves is a powerful experience to both witness and facilitate.