Slowing Down, from the Fred Rogers April 2022 newsletter
June 15, 2021
Bringing Nature Into Focus: For Teachers
By Adria Bader, Director of Curriculum Development
Pull out a recent Early Childhood magazine and it is likely that some portion will show or discuss nature and the positive impact of nature on children. Most likely there will be nature right on the cover. Research shows us time and again the powerful impact of nature on brain development, physical development, emotional development, and more. Below are also a few ideas for inside and outside the classroom along with some research on the importance of nature.
• Add branches horizontally hanging down from the ceiling then add vertical fishing line from the branch and finally add photos of nature or upcoming science topics in photo-form from the fishing line to create a more natural display.
• Add rocks, leaves, sticks, or other natural materials to the centers.
• Use naturally woven baskets to display classroom items.
• If you cannot find a way to bring something real inside (a mountain, the sun, wild animals, etc.), use photos of nature throughout the classroom.
• Can you safely design a day each week or even once a month when you spend the majority of the day outside? Think about Circle Time under a shady tree, small groups in different corners of the soccer field, picnic lunch under the outdoor covered area, yoga in the sandbox, etc.
• Ask or observe the children in your class to see what parts of nature excite them. Spend a few minutes each day exploring that excitement. (If they love ants, buy an ant farm, look for places on the playground where the ants live, discover the three segments of the ant’s body using magnifying glasses, etc.)
• Make nature walks a weekly adventure and look for different items each time. (Flowers one time, then trees, then rocks, then animals, then types of water, etc.)