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Connecting Young Children and Nature: How to Educate and Enchant
Tuesday May 10, 2016 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT
Presented by Dr. Ruth Wilson, Professor Emerita, Bowling Green State University
Sponsored by Gryphon House
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This presentation focused on the idea that young children need frequent positive experiences with nature for their holistic development and for becoming environmentally literate individuals. Discover the understanding that connecting young children with nature should be about fostering a sense of wonder rather than on the teaching of facts. Yet, the ideas introduced demonstrate how different academic areas — including science, math, literacy, and the arts – can be promoted through developmentally appropriate nature-related activities. Ideas were also offered on how to use nature to support the social and emotional development of young children and how connections with nature promote such desired dispositions as empathy, caring, and curiosity. Learn how strengthening the connections between children and nature can contribute to a more peaceful and sustainable world.
The primary objectives of this presentation are for teachers to:
- Become more aware of the many benefits of connecting children with nature
- Develop an understanding of how nature can be used as an integrating context for learning
- Develop an appreciation of the role of wonder or enchantment in the lives of young children
- Become familiar with a variety of nature-related activities which can be used with young children to promote both education and enchantment
Dr. Ruth Wilson worked for over 30 years as an educator and now devotes her time to writing and consulting. The focus of her work is on connecting young children with nature. She’s written several books on this topic including Nature and Young Children published by Routledge and, most recently, Learning is in Bloom published by Gryphon House.
Ruth’s consulting projects have included work with Sesame Street, California’s Education and Environment Initiative, Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee, and Brookfield Zoo near Chicago. Several years ago, she was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the National Arbor Day Foundation for her work in early childhood environmental education. Ruth currently works with the Children and Nature Network as curator for their research center. She also serves on the editorial advisory board for the International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education.
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