2014 Teaching the Environment Workshops
Nature plays a critical role in children’s development and well-being. The ways in which environmental education fosters children’s learning is inherently progressive. This workshop will provide an overview of environmental education in an early childhood classroom. Participants will view the Child Development Institute’s film, When Learning Comes Naturally, and discuss ways to provide children with opportunities to meaningfully interact with their environment inside and outside the classroom.
The Nature of Nurture: Teaching the Environment and Child Development & Learning
Environmental educators naturally understand the value of environmental education for children and adolescents: they see the children that they work with playing in more complex ways outdoors than they do indoors, they listen to children as they learn more about their natural world and begin to change the ways that they think about the environment and their place in it. But, with the growing focus on standards-based learning and assessment, environmental education is often cut from school programming, and children are given less and less time to play outside. How can we push back against this trend? In this workshop, we will discuss the mounting evidence supporting the positive impacts of engagement in the natural environment generally, and environmental education programming specifically, on children’s development and well-being. We will also discuss the evidence for significant transformations in children’s scientific knowledge, as well as changes in their environmental attitudes and behaviors, when they engage in effective environmental education programs. Finally, we will discuss the evidence based on interviews with and observations of children themselves: when asked, children and adolescents across the globe prefer natural areas and engage in more complex levels of play in such settings.
Exploring the Biodiversity of the Hudson River
Teachers will observe a group of children from San Andres Center as they participate in the “Catch of the Day” seining program at CURB. Children will discover the biodiversity of life lurking along the shorelines of Yonkers by dragging a seine net through the water while wearing chest waders to keep dry. They will also embark on a beach scavenger hunt to explore the treasures washed up with the tides. The observations of the children will be followed by a group discussion regarding the children’s interactions and overall experience.
One School’s Experience in Engaging Students, Educators, and Community
This session will provide an overview on the importance of self-sustainability and being an environmentally responsible person, educator, and school. Participants will learn about the multidisciplinary initiatives (outdoor learning classroom, healthy lifestyle activities, fruit and vegetable garden, etc.) developed at the William. E. Cottle School in Tuckahoe, NY.
Exploring Temperate Forests with HELP at the Bronx Zoo
The Habitat Ecology Learning Program (HELP) is a hands-on program that will help teachers explore the defining characteristics of habitats as well as how plants, animals, and indigenous people have adapted to survive in these diverse conditions. By integrating lessons from the HELP Temperate Forest curriculum guide with other resources, teachers can encourage students to explore the richness of ecology both in a classroom, local park, nature center, or zoo. HELP is also a creative way to integrate math, language arts, and social studies with science lessons!
The Art of Science at the New York Botanical Garden
Discover how to help your students experience the wonder of the outdoors through both art and science. Participants will hone their observation skills and ask questions using the backdrop of the garden grounds and its incredible diversity of plant-life. We will explore how the physical beauty of nature can enhance students’ natural curiosity and provide an inquiry-based framework for learning.
Hudson River Watershed and Water Quality
Teachers will participate in hands-on demonstrations to understand the dynamics and functions of the Hudson River watershed including. Teachers will analyze the water quality of the Hudson and Saw Mill River to compare physical and chemical parameters of each. The data will be compared to real-time data from other Hudson River water monitoring locations.
Social and Environmental Justice Walk
Downtown Yonkers encapsulates in just a few blocks many of the challenges of balancing urban redevelopment with economic and social justice and environmental sustainability. The city's current intensive redevelopment projects, located between the Hudson River and historically rich Getty Square, provide a vivid illustration of this difficult balancing act.
Raising Sustainability Natives: K-12 Education’s Critical Role
Katie Ginsberg, Founder and Executive Director of the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF), will be giving the program keynote. Her talk will address how educators from different settings can work with their schools, communities, and coalitions to advocate for environmental literacy and sustainability to be an integral part of children’s learning experiences in and out of schools.