Where the outdoors is both classroom and teacher
Kids are wired from birth to be scientists – to explore and discover things and use their senses.
Fourth and fifth graders today were begging to stay in the woods to continue their New York forest study. They have each adopted a tree for a year-long project. Tasks include describing the tree, drawing the tree from different perspectives like lying down or from above, writing a poem about the tree, and scientific investigation.
K-1’s are studying salamanders and 2-3’s are starting the year with their annual water study and participation in the DEC’s Day in the Life of the Hudson River. Middle schoolers have started something new – The Nature Patchwork Project, observing an area of the school’s property for a year, and creating detailed nature observation journals that they will publish to Pinterest as a way to share their findings publicly.
Thomas Friedman in a September Op-ed We Are All Noah Now urges our generation – and our children’s – to be the “Noah generation” – charged with saving the earth and its species from extinction. To care about nature, children need to be immersed in nature and be environmentally literate. In today’s tech-focused world, that’s not so easy.
How lucky are we that Parker is at the cutting edge of pedagogy in a unique learning environment, where the outdoors is a classroom and a teacher both?!