“I learned how to make a ‘wormery’! My students are going to love this!” was the comment from an area educator after participating in a one-day continuing education in-service program facilitated by the Schrader Center’s Education Coordinator, Robin Lee, MA.
More than 50 preschool teachers and their aides attended “Project Green Hour: Through the Seasons” held at Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville, OH on Friday, December 9, 2012.
A Green Hour is time for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world. In 2007, the National Wildlife Federation launched GreenHour.org, an online resource providing the inspiration and tools to make the outdoors a part of daily life. NWF recommends that parents give their kids a “Green Hour” every day. This can take place in a garden, a backyard, the park down the street, or any place that provides safe and accessible green spaces where children can learn and play. Scientific Research shows kids are happier and healthier when outdoor time is in better balance with indoor time.
Participants were shown how brain-based research supports the importance of the outdoors in relationship to children’s wellbeing. During the morning session, participants hiked outside to see how the surroundings around a college setting, not much different from some of their schools, could be used in developing and teaching lessons. During the afternoon session, participants applied inquiry-based learning from the morning session by developing a single lesson plan theme for the month and then sharing their lesson plans from January to June.
Lesson plans for the Month of May were given to them, along with a take-home science station, “Vermiculture Wormery”, that they build, and extension lesson plans on how to populate a terrarium, a second portable science station for the classroom, with items they might find in their outdoor surroundings.
“Teachers were delighted with the Wormery and to find out that Ohio Science Academic Standards for Curriculum (ASCs) are not as difficult as they once believed and can be tied to just about any other ASCs in the preschool curriculum through art, movement, pre-language skills and pre-numerical operations skills,” says Robin Lee. “Many teachers stated that it was the most informative and exciting in-service they had attended in many years.
According to one participant, “This was the best in-service I have attended in the last five years. Robin was awesome, and all of her information was better than a Discovery Channel marathon!”