Connecting college students and preschoolers through an environmental literacy course | NAAEE
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Connecting college students and preschoolers through an environmental literacy course

Hi,
I am the director of the early childhood center at the University of Connecticut as well a faculty member in Human Development and Family Sciences. UConn has just added an Environmental Literacy requirement for all undergraduate students. I would like to create a course that brings together our preschool children with the college students around environmental literacy with a focus on one or more of the following:

1. theories, observations, or models of how humans impact the health and well-being of the natural world;
2. theories, observations, or models of how the natural world affects human health and well-being;
3. public policies, legal frameworks, and/or other social systems that affect the environment;
4. moral and/or ethical dimensions regarding the environment;
5. cultural, creative, or artistic representations of human-environment interactions.

In my searches, I haven't found any models for this so I am hoping people might have some thoughts to share! Thank you!

Hi Anne,
I don't know of an exact model, but you might find these resources helpful for thinking about both the partnership and the means of engaging with early childhood. . . The first article describes a partnership between a university course and a school, which I think would be fairly easy to modify to younger children. I am also applying it in a different context here in Marina now. The second article describes ways we engaged young children in thinking about nature and open space that I think was highly successful for the children/teachers, and that could be a basis for the partner course. The weblinks http://www.growingupboulder.org/osmp-tsa-vision.html and http://www.growingupboulder.org/bjs-insect-explorations.html provides a bit more detail about the insect explorations with some examples of student work. I would love to hear if you are sent other resources, too. It sounds like a great course!

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PDF icon teens_power_tools_and_green_schools_education_for_sustainability_through_a_university_environmental_design_program_and_middle_school_partnership.pdf688.28 KB
PDF icon derr_ruppi_and_wagner_honoring_voices_osmp.pdf1.62 MB

Thank you--these are great resources! We are certified as a "Nature Explore" program by the National Arbor Day Society and have a focus on nature-based exploration, study and play with the children in the center. I'm thinking that developing a project jointly between the children and the college students would be a good way to go, at least for the first couple of semesters. I will keep you posted and please send along anything else you think would be helpful or interesting!