There is so much uncertainty and challenges associated with reopening early education centers this fall. New regulations and concerns over COVID mandate the need for some “outside the box” thinking when it comes to how we are teaching our students. Among these changes are questions such as how to maximize program spaces and continue to support the growth and development of our students while maintaining health and safety practices such as mask usage and social distancing. One of the best ways to do all of these things at the same time is to make the shift to teaching outside your classroom walls. Whether you have blacktop, a traditional play structure, open fields or trees, all of your curriculum goals can be taught outside! In addition to the calming effects of being outside, there is a greater ability to physically spread yourselves out, better air flow and less surfaces to disinfect. This series is designed to demonstrate and offer guidance on how to take the curriculum you are doing at your school and make it successful outside the classroom. Each session will cover a different area of growth and development including Math, Science, Social/Emotional, Fine/Gross motor, Language/Literacy and Art/Music. Join Mass Audubon educators Kris Scopinich and Rina Zampieron as they break down how to make the outdoors into a relaxed and safe classroom. Learn about Kris and Rina following the sign up section below!
Participants will receive a certificate of attendance for two professional development hours for each session. Workshops cover content to meet “diverse learners/children with special needs”.
Program goals: Participants will
• Build skills and confidence for teaching all areas of curriculum outside of indoor spaces.
• Learn techniques for helping children to understand and follow social distancing practices and mask usage, without being punitive or heightening childhood anxiety.
• Gain tools for helping young children manage stress and anxiety as a result of COVID shutdowns.
• Become familiar with various ways to include nature into their existing school’s curriculum.
The sessions are $30 each and are limited to 25 participants to enable an interactive experience. Online registration only using eventbrite links, listed below each description.
PLEASE be aware there is no signup by mail – CPT is entirely virtual (so no physical mail or in-person drop offs are accepted). All communication is by email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Please register online at the individual link provided with each session. Teachers do not need to sign up for all 6 workshops, although that is ideal as the ideas build upon each other.
Tuesday Sept 22, 2020 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Zoom (link will be sent upon paid registration)
We will start with ideas and games that teach about social distancing/mask wearing for preschoolers. Outdoor team building activities will be highlighted, including ways to be a nature hero.
We will also provide tools for building emotional resilience and reducing stress in your outdoor classroom space. .
Tuesday Sept 29, 2020 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Zoom (link will be sent upon paid registration)
The beauty of nature is known to have a calming and restorative effect on people of all ages. We’ll learn various techniques for listening and using our eyes to find the art and music that is all around us.
We will not only make our own, but also take inspiration from and gain an appreciation for art and music that can only be found outside.
Tuesday October 6, 2020 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Zoom (link will be sent upon paid registration)
The outdoors presents so many opportunities for self-expression through language and literacy skills. We’ll develop our descriptive language skills, delve into the art of storytelling and explore beginning literacy skills.
From communicating via letter writing, reading the stories left behind by animals, or creating our own nature-inspired tales, we’ll build our literacy skills outside the four walls of the classroom.
Tuesday October 13, 2020 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Zoom (link will be sent upon paid registration)
To the young mind, this current time of uncertainty leaves many unanswered questions. Learning about science and the way the world works will set your students on the path of how to piece together information that can help organize and make sense of their environment.
We will address concepts like cause and effect, the cyclical nature of life, how all living things can adapt to new challenges and how to observe that which is going on around us. This intro into Science literacy will not only excite young children about science will but will also help to answer some of the bigger questions about how and why things change and how we can adapt!
Tuesday October 20, 2020 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Zoom (link will be sent upon paid registration)
Let’s find some order in an otherwise disordered setting. The sequencing of events, comparing and contrasting objects, and counting all focus on very concrete math ideas. We’ll especially focus on teaching about distance, with the idea of helping children to learn what 6 feet looks like.
We’ll learn about how to map our space as an additional way to help young children understand the how and why of social distancing. We’ll empower young children to feel more aware and in control of the new spacing requirements in your program.
Tuesday October 27, 2020 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Zoom (link will be sent upon paid registration)
After so much time spent at spent at home, children are ready to stretch those muscles. But how do we do this while still maintaining social distancing?
We’ll present a whole host of small and gross motor games, projects and activities for being active in a safe and fun way. From heavy duty nature building to fine precision work, your children will have a chance to use their whole bodies and get those ‘ya-ya’s out.
Kris’s favorite childhood memory is going out at night by boat to saltwater lagoons in Florida to catch shrimp with her father and sister. Time spent exploring, learning and teaching outside has brought her from Florida up the coast to Maine, out to Rocky Mountain National Park, up north to Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest, and back east again to Massachusetts. Kris is the Education Manager at Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Lincoln, MA. Working with a team of educators and naturalists, she oversees all on- and off-site educational programs for schools, children, families, adults, and general visitors at the sanctuary and off-site in local communities, as well as the Drumlin Farm Summer Camp and the Drumlin Farm Community Preschool—a nationally recognized nature and farm-based preschool. Kris teaches science education courses for elementary and middle school teachers and works with school administrators and teachers to develop field science opportunities for students. She and her staff work with over 800 schools throughout the state and partner with several school districts developing curriculum that addresses science education through inquiry-based learning and place-based field studies. Kris develops and oversees multiple community environmental education projects including Lowell Leaders in Stewardship—a comprehensive program strategy that connects the youth of Lowell with local natural and cultural resources and implement stewardship projects in their city; Digital Environmental Education Project—an initiative to tap into the resources of the digital age to enhance people's understanding and appreciation of nature and inspire conservation; and the RiverSchools Network—a watershed based environmental education project that works with elementary, middle, and high school students and their teachers to strengthen understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers and the SuAsCo watershed. Kris also participates in many statewide projects at Mass Audubon including the Education Leadership Team and the Climate Change Project. Her interest is in developing learning environments that encourage people to explore their connection to the environment as well as the role they can play in its conservation. Kris sits on the Steering Committee of the Secretaries’ Advisory Group on Environmental Education and the Massachusetts ELP. She is a founding board member of Grassroots Wildlife Conservation and participates in many community groups related to conservation and education.
Rina has been a teacher for Drumlin Farm Community Preschool since 2006. In addition to her teaching responsibilities she also serves as the preschool’s Curriculum Specialist and as Health Care Director for Drumlin Farm Summer Camp. Rina has recently begun serving as Mass Audubon’s State-Wide Early Education Specialist, designing professional development trainings and creating resources to make nature based programming more accessible to early educators.