EDC 509 Nature-based Early Childhood Curriculum
Patti Bailie 2 credits
Nature preschools and forest kindergartens have a uniquely different approach to curriculum than conventional indoor early childhood centers. This first course will focus on the distinctive elements for outdoor programming for children aged three to six.
The central organizing concept is to follow the seasons and work with the ebb and flow of nature. The teacher’s role is to embrace the opportunities that nature provides and use them to encourage growth in their children. The curriculum goals address both the developmental needs of young children and environmental literacy and learning. Children learn through play. Unstructured play in the natural world provides opportunities for children to learn about their world (through their senses), develop a sense of place, foster independence, and cultivate problem-solving skills. High-quality practices of both early childhood education and environmental education are an integral part of successfully implementing a nature-focused, play-based curriculum for young children.
Teachers will have an opportunity to be immersed in nature each day, to work in group experiences and to spend time with environmental educators on projects.
Course objectives include:
- understanding the foundations of early childhood environmental education,
- integrating the goals of early childhood education with environmental education in teaching young children,
- learning how to construct a nature-focused curriculum,
- defining and implementing high quality practice and
- articulating the benefits of a nature-based curriculum for young children to parents and the broader community.
The curriculum topics include the philosophy of early childhood environmental education and what that means, how nature experiences promote brain development, the value of unstructured outdoor play for development and environmental awareness, how to provide a safe, secure environment, developing intentions for an integrated and project-based curriculum, defining assessment and high quality practice.
Cost: $440 per graduate credit/$280 per credit to audit.