With Earth Day finally here, the conversation of nature and the importance of our environment has begun. Everything about the environment can be introduced from toddlerhood to school age including and definitely not limited to the animals and wild life in your area. How simple it is to program based on the interest of perhaps the geese wandering around the Islington Village yard. From then on, the experiences can transition into defining other birds or even for the JK/SK group, discussing and or asking questions about the migration patterns of Canadian Geese.
To get started, your own sense of wonder, more than your scientific knowledge, will inspire
and sustain a child’s love of nature. Your sense of awe will be contagious to the
Explore and learn together.
Try to focus on “experiencing” rather than “teaching”. Then take your lead and cues from the children after you have provided the opportunity for them to interact with the natural world.
As building blocks and the term “scaffolding” is used in early learning it defines the concept of learning step by step, mastering one skill and building upward with the next set of skills. This can be translated to the initiatives pertaining to Earth Day. We need to teach children to love the Earth, before we ask them to save it. In order to let the children embrace the nature around them, on a daily basis, we organized for the JK/SK group to clear out the planters in the entrance yard of Islington Village. After clearing out the weeds, they dug out holes, mixed up soil and planted perennials.
With this experience and activity available to the group, the children learned what it takes, step by step to plant flowers. Each portion of the process was discussed as they had a million and one questions. Questioning, “ why is the ground so hard?”, “why do we need to pull the weeds out?”, “ why are the flowers different colours?”.
All of these wonderings have a scientific aspect, however it also instills problem solving skills, cause and effect exploration, even social skills of learning and relating to the environment and the community around them.
More information on the deeper, more scientific reasons to engage your children in nature, and starting of the discussion of ecology and preservation…