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Posted on Jan 28, 2011

The Natural World Is Our Playground

January 27, 2011

Since the 2005 publication of Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods, many parents and teachers have rededicated themselves to spending time with their children in the great outdoors. Families and classrooms have headed outside both for purposeful activity (e.g., birding, plant identification, and clean-ups/restoration) and open-ended fun (see the Gillispie “Gem,” below). Inspired in part by Last Child, the San Diego Natural History Museum is hosting a lecture series titled, Sustainable Plant: Children and Nature. Mr. Bunyak attended the October lecture, “Connecting San Diego’s Kids to Nearby Nature,” and learned that there are a number of community groups that have sprouted up to lead weekly open-ended nature trips. You can find more information at the San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative website. Mr. Candra attended this Tuesday’s talk, “Grounding Learning in Place and Community.” He’s brought a host of resources back to Gillispie classrooms, including ideas for organic gardening here on campus and ways to use the produce to make student snacks. In addition, he’ll be working with Mr. Edwards and our Grade 6 scientists to plan a beach clean-up and a study of the relationships between inland waterways and ocean ecosystems. Finally, he’ll continue the neighborhood nature walks he’s been leading during sustainability time–these outings encourage children to notice and connect with the dozens of small but meaningful changes that occur in our community (see also Mrs. Brackbill’s 12/9 Sun article on the Reggio Emilia philosophy). Future talks in the Sustainable Planet series include “A Good Place to Grow Up is Green” (Mar. 8) and “Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability” (May 3). While the hills are still green from winter rains, here’s to getting outside . . . if for nothing more than to just ramble around. Alison Fleming Head of School
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