KinderNature website updated in 2015, 10 years after first ‘bloom’
From the 2005 KinderNature activity guide: “Playing in the mud, that’s what I did growing up! Mud, a sandbox, a playhouse, and the cherry tree to climb are my memories of the past. Today, it seems that our children do not have time for these activities anymore. Being clean, watching TV, and spending time at the computer seem to have a higher priority. We believe outdoor nature experiences are important and wanted all kids to grow up with these memories too. We decided to do something about it! KinderNature was created to help early childcare educators, care givers, and parents to incorporate nature in their curriculum and lives.”
The long-term goal in 2005 was “… to have a website targeting preschool teachers and child care staff, to assist in learning, developing, and implementing a well-balanced environmental education (EE) preschool program. The intent is for childcare providers to have developmentally-appropriate programs which incorporates a variety of learning styles and stimulates within the child an excitement for learning. Environmental preschool programs can spark an environmental awareness and lay a solid foundation for the school-age environmental education building blocks that result in adults having the ability to make sound environmental decisions.”
The goal of this updated KinderNature website is not that much different!
This new site contains nature-based outdoor inquiry activities and includes correlation to the Iowa Early Learning Standards 2012 (although the IELS have been updated since). All activities were reviewed by the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children for being developmentally appropriate and incorporating a variety of learning styles. Many activities will meet Head Start Performance Standards.
The updated KinderNature website was developed by the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition (ICEC) and funded by the Iowa Department of Natural Resource’s Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program (REAP-CEP).
Young children are passionate about learning and learn best by being actively involved, using their whole body, all their senses – active, hands-on learning. The National Science Foundation describes inquiry based learning “as an approach to learning that involves a process of exploring the natural or material world that leads to asking questions and making discoveries in the search for new understandings.” Teachers and adults are quick to provide answers to a young child’s question. As leaders of young children we need to help the child build their own understanding of new concepts. Instead of giving the answer, we focus on asking questions that are relevant to the child. These questions are open-ended and are sometimes referred to as “the W and H questions” (who, what, when, where, why, and how).