Outdoor and Environmental Education
This was a presentation at the Mentor Institute's "Leadership Opportunities for Today and Tomorrow" Converence at Claremont McKenna College on June 5, 2010.
Whatever is on hand that has been collected at work for/by the children. Today, this included:
Flowers, alive and dead
These are little two-dimensional people and a house.
The afternoon prior to the workshop, I spent about an hour-and-a-half familiarizing myself with the central location of the workshop (outdoors, under a large oak, with sitting and standing space) and the nearby surrounding campus since I'd never been there. I decided a theme should be "avoid the pavement," however, I failed to remember to mention it during my introduction. On this expedition of curiosity, I found items of note:
-A rock amongst living tree roots.
-A place to hide.
-An animal home.
Finding these things, I felt better prepared to be able to point out features of the environment if needed or offer up assistance to small groups who may have gotten "stuck."
Introduction (10:45 - 10:55)
-Teacher at Duck's Nest Preschool in Berkeley, CA.
-Onions: As we get older, society adds layers to us, like the way an onion is formed. Play and discovery outdoors removes these layers and we become our essential selves.
-It feels good doing what you are meant to do.
-Body and mind are engaged.
-10,000 steps a day without even thinking about it, around 1,000 steps an hour whether with the children or doing garden maintenance.
-Garden work is meditative.
Go Out (10:55 - 11:40)
-Avoid the pavement.
-What opportunities does our environment offer us?
-Create works of art from the natural environment found everywhere around us. Leave them for others to find.
Return (11:40 - 12:00)
-Tour of small group creations.
"Fun" written with natural materials. This cyclone fence is covered with some material to hide the objects inside. Vines grow up the side. The students wove natural materials they found through the vines.
Smiley face made from natural materials and litter.
Fairy village! I guess I don't have a photo. One of the groups made an entire fairy village with houses and rides in a stand of redwood trees. It was beautiful!
On the evaluation form, many rated this workship the highest possible: "I'll Use This on Monday!"
Individual comments included, "Moved and provoked by outdoor breakout group," and "Great!"
By Heather Taylor, firstname.lastname@example.org. You are welcome to share all materials with credit to her.