Promoting Professional Development and Best Practice in EE
Handbook for Bird Educators: Connecting Children to Nature Through Birds
Young children have an innate affinity to nature, which often gets lost while growing up. We believe that an early association with nature, guided by an adult mentor (parent or teacher) can have many emotional and physical benefits for a child. Birds are the perfect starting point for this journey, since they are beautiful, accessible and interesting. Birdwatching can help get a child interested in many other aspects of nature and lead to a lifelong love and appreciation of the natural world.
The Handbook for Bird Educators is an outcome of a series of workshops conducted by our team, called 'How to be a Birding Buddy'. These workshops were designed as hands-on, interactive sessions, aimed at equipping amateur birders and educators with the knowledge, skills and materials needed to effectively engage children on birds and nature, both inside and outside the classroom. The workshops got us connected to a network of interested groups of educators across India, and the interactions with practitioners enriched our own understanding and ideas about nature education.
Subsequently we decided to compile the games, creative activities, tips and tricks, into a 'Handbook' that could potentially reach many more educators than we were able to accommodate in our workshops. Many teachers or parents would probably not have any prior knowledge of birds; so we include an introductory chapter about birds and their natural history, to get them started on this journey.
Peppered with sketches, illustrations and evocative quotes, the handbook is loaded with information about birds, and practical and detailed instructions on conducting bird walks, talking to children about birds, and designing fun activities that are game-based and art-based, while promoting learning. We truly believe in this quote by David Sobel - "If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then we must allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it."
We hope that the handbook will convince adults to not feel limited by their perceived lack of knowledge or understanding of the natural world, and take the plunge, along with their children, to explore, discover and appreciate the fascinating world of birds!
The Handbook for Bird Educators will be available in print soon; until then, you can browse in flipbook format or download a pdf for offline viewing at https://www.early-bird.in/handbook/