Sunday, May 18, 2014

Project Journey: Learning in the Field

 The middle years - roughly six to twelve--is a time of greatly expanded interest, curiosity and capacity for assimilating knowledge and understanding the natural world. Rapid cognitive and intellectual growth occurs, including many critical thinking skills achieved through interaction and coping in the nonhuman environment.  Intellectual development at this stage is especially facilitated by direct contact with nearby natural settings, where a world of exploration, imagination and discovery becomes increasingly evident to the child.    - Stephen R. Kellert

The goal of integrating learning into field studies with greater intent continues.

This journey started with zest a few years ago when I read a great post by Lynn Hilt.  Also inspired by many field studies I experienced as a child with my school, Girl Scouts, the church, and my family, I know how powerful field studies can be.

A few years ago we wrote a grant for a Zoo-School partnership.  The grant was denied, but then I submitted it again the next year with some updates and the grant was approved.  We had a great trip to the zoo last year, and we're returning again this year.

Desiring to build the nature experience more, and supported by research, I moved the grant site closer and worked with Robin Stuart at Drumlin Farm over the summer to set up our Farm Days Study. Then in turn, Drumlin invited us to be part of their Rivers Study three-year grant, and that study starts tomorrow.

How will the grade-level team and I continue to build and grow field studies, and what is the result of these studies?  I will think on that in the summer, and invite you to add your two cents should you have links, ideas, or experiences to share.