Welcome to room 107 at McDowell Early Learning School, we are so happy you are here! I hope you are excited and ready for a year of nature centered learning. What is nature centered learning you ask? I am excited to share with you what nature centered learning looks like in room 107 here at McDowell Early Learning School.
This year we are going to explore nature every day by spending time each day outside! Right outside our classroom is an amazing outdoor learning environment in the form of an arboretum. We will be exploring this area as well as others all year long. Our curriculum will focus on natural cycles of plants, animals, seasons and humans as we spend time inside and outside our classroom.
We will start the year by conducting scientific research on Monarch butterflies as we observe the entire life cycle of the monarch. We will raise monarch caterpillars from eggs to butterflies in our classroom. We will also focus on the season of Summer changing to Fall with our countdown to the Fall Equinox! As the year progresses we will study trees and leaves around our school and discover how these organisms survive in each season. As we move our way through Fall and start getting ready for winter, we will move from a study of trees to a study of animals and how native Ohio animals prepare for our long winter. We will learn how to find animal tracks and which animals stay and which animals migrate. This will also start our countdown to Winter Solstice! During the Winter months we will learn about the winter season, the phases of the Moon and birds! We will be feeding birds throughout the winter and observing them from our classroom window. Also we will look at what dormancy is and how animals use dormancy to survive. As we leave winter and start heading to Spring we will get back to our trees, but not just any tree, our Maple trees! Yes that’s right we will be tapping our Maple trees and making maple syrup! This is when we will start our countdown to the Spring Equinox and learn more about seeds and plants by starting an indoor garden. While we watch our garden grow we will start to focus on signs of spring that come to Ohio like vernal pools and digging for bugs! As Spring enters full force we will begin to look at the symbiotic relationship between bees and flowers! By this time we will be wrapping up our awesome year and getting ready for Summer.
The above is an outline of how our year will flow. Hudson practices PBL (project based learning) which is a curriculum structure focused on student-directed learning. The outline above will help focus student learning while simultaneously allowing students to direct their own learning within the PBL structure. This means that our exact projects and work we do during the year will be tailored by student interest.