Growing Up Wild -- Connecting Kids to Nature
New program offered by VT Fish & Wildlife Department provides early childhood educator training to help connect children to nature.
A new, national environmental education resource is now available for educators through workshops given by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children is an early childhood education curriculum guide focusing on wildlife education.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has been offering Project WILD and Aquatic WILD training workshops to Kindergarten through grade 12 teachers, environmental educators, and college students for many years. Now, Ali Thomas, the Education Coordinator for the department is adding Growing Up WILD to the list of training options.
“Growing Up WILD is an incredible resource, as the creators of the curriculum clearly understand the needs of early childhood educators,” says Thomas. “All of the lessons creatively address concepts in math, science, physical education, and literature while incorporating multiple learning styles and optional activities such as music and movement, snacks ideas, home connections, and more. These interdisciplinary methods are necessary for successful early childhood learning. The curriculum guide and online supplementary materials are easy to use and fun to do. Whether you’re a formal teacher in a school or a non-formal educator at a nature center, this guide is an effective teaching resource in any setting.”
Growing Up WILD was developed by a national nonprofit organization, the Council for Environmental Education (CEE). Funds to create the program came from a grant awarded to CEE by the Environmental Protection Agency with the goal of strengthening a national effort to connect young children to nature, particularly with diverse audiences.
Developed with the vision of changing the culture of early childhood education to embrace learning in the outdoors, Growing Up WILD is the first nationally distributed professional development program and activity guide that integrates environmental education into the early childhood curriculum.