Science, Nature Play and Learning Professional Learning Community, Fall 2018
||EDU 5625 C10
||Southeast Vermont – location rotates between participant sites
|Dates and Times:
||September 26th, 2018; October 25, 2018; November 28, 2018; January 31, 2019; March 27, 2019; May 30th, 2019
||3 graduate or undergraduate credits
Note: Registrations for this course will be accepted through October 24, 2018. The work covered in the September class session, if missed, will need to be made up with consultation from instructor Emily Pals. Please register directly with Emily Pals at the Four Winds Nature Institute. If you wish to take the course for Castleton credit, please notify Emily who will then give you the link to Castleton's online registration form. All payments are due and payable to Four Winds Nature Institute.
This Science, Nature Play and Learning professional learning community (PLC) is intended to provide support to both public and private early childhood and elementary education professionals to increase the amount and effectiveness of outdoor learning experiences for their students with a focus on doing science and facilitating authentic nature play and learning. By reading current literature and making monthly commitments, participants in this course will prepare for group discussions with fellow teachers who are addressing similar goals in their classrooms, thus creating a support network of like-minded professionals.
Audience: Public and private educators of children pre-K through grade 5.
- To connect colleagues in one’s own school and other local schools, community members, and content specialists to strengthen, inspire, and explore effective practices for creating rich outdoor learning opportunities and unstructured play experiences in nature.
- To increase familiarity with resources related to different aspects of nature-based play and learning.
- To utilize the natural areas outside the classroom and improve upon them, if necessary, to foster a rich outdoor learning environment.
- To reflect on one’s role as the teacher, and to incorporate commitments for change in practice to support growth and learning in students during nature-based play and learning.
- To evaluate and document the growth that young children experience when engaged in nature-based play and learning and science practices outdoors.
- To identify relevant philosophical issues in child development and environmental education, current and historical.
Course Objectives: This course is designed to help participants increase the amount and quality of outdoor learning experiences offered to their students. Participants in this course will be asked to:
- complete assigned readings
- attend meetings
- discuss readings with other course participants and instructor during meetings
- make commitments at each meeting to incorporate effective practices in their teaching
- assess student growth and learning
- submit a reflective essay (4-5 pages) that connects what was observed in the classroom with contemporary issues in environmental and science literacy, educational philosophy, and the local community, human and natural. Cite readings, using APA or MLA format.
Assignments: Action Plan and Final Reflection
Projects: Action Plan and Final Reflection
Other Suggested Readings/Texts:
- Banning, Wendy & Ginny Sullivan. Lens on Outdoor Learning. Redleaf Press, 2011.
- Bower, Nancy MacPhee. Adventure, Play, Peace: Insights and Activities for Social Emotional Learning and Community Building with Young Children. Wood N Barnes Publishing, 2013.
- Finch, Ken. "But...but...but...Isn't It Dangerous? Risk and Reward in Nature Play"
- Sobel, David. Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators. Stenhouse Publishers, 2008.
- Individualized resources: these will be tailored to the participants' needs.
For additional course & registration information