It was a delight and privilege to be able to conduct a workshop last 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. I highly recommend these conferences to anyone who is striving to provide young children with more opportunities to learn directly from and within natural settings. This October, I was fortunate again to present a collection of activities to other educators, this time at the NH Farm to School virtual conference.
At both of these gatherings, I shared descriptions of outdoor games (many based on traditional formats) that are generally active, sociable, and hopefully, fun. At the same time, these activities are intended to help increase youngsters’ understanding and appreciation of the Northeastern Forest bioregion: its creatures and vital processes. I’m attaching below a pdf containing written descriptions of some of the games that participants played during the live Natural Start workshop in 2019 – and others mentioned in the second 2020 virtual workshop. Also included are their correlations with the Next Generation Science Standards, a variety of supporting visuals, and suggestions for ways that these activities and projects can be expanded. All this and the pedagogical and philosophical rationale for this kind of learning are explored in the following draft manuscript titled Circling the Sun, Racing the Wind. It was recently transformed into book format and online pdf by the remarkably gifted Lisa Greenleaf of Greenleaf Design Studio.
Any reflections, suggestions, or questions about this collection would be very welcome, especially since I’m in the last phases of refining and revising both the draft’s writing and illustrations. My thanks and best wishes to those of you who joined the workshops on August 2, 2019 and October 8, 2020, as well as to those of you who are considering these materials for possible sharing with your students.
To view the entire document, please click on the cover illustration and scroll down.Circling-the-Sun-Racing-the-Wind_1.21