It was a delight and privilege to be able to conduct a workshop this summer as part of the 2019 Nature-Based Early Learning Conference in Manchester, NH. The conference was organized by the Natural Start Alliance which is itself a project of the North American Association of Environmental Education. Planning for this group’s 2020 Conference in Cincinnati is already underway. While I probably will not be able to attend that conference myself, I recommend it highly to all those striving to provide young children with more opportunities to learn directly from and within natural settings.
At this summer’s gathering, I presented an assortment of outdoor games (many based on traditional formats) that have been designed to be pleasant, active, and sociable while at the same time, helping to increase youngsters’ understanding and appreciation of the Northeastern Forest bioregion: its creatures and vital processes. I’m attaching here written descriptions of some of the games that participants played during the workshop – and others; their correlations with the Next Generation Science Standards; supporting visuals; and suggestions for ways that these activities and projects can be expanded. The pedagogical and philosophical rationale for this kind of learning is also discussed in following draft. These materials are all part of a manuscript I’ve been developing called Circling the Sun, Racing the Wind.
Any reflections, suggestions, or questions about this collection would be very welcome, especially since I’m still in the phase of refining and revising both the draft’s writing and illustrations. My thanks and best wishes to those of you who joined the workshop on August 2nd and to those of you who are considering these materials for possible sharing with your students.Racing-the-Wind-Circling-the-Sun-Games-Draft-October-2019