Teaching Children in Nature
The 2019-2020 school year is underway! Not only are teachers throughout metro-Atlanta and the north Georgia region booking school field trips to Elachee, our Elachee Nature Academy (ENA) teachers are excited to begin an adventure with young students ready to learn, grow and explore the Chicopee Woods.
“Each child will bring so much to our class,” comments Melissa Miner, Elachee Nature K-1 Teacher. “I’m eager to get to know each student and learn about their unique talents and strengths. It’s going to be a wonderful year full of new adventures and discoveries.”
Summer break magnifies how much ENA students impact their teachers. In preparing her classroom for the new school year, Lead Nature Preschool Teacher Angela Belanger shared, “I sure do miss our adventurous hikes and all the fun conversations we have on the trails. I’m really looking forward to hearing students’ summer stories, their outlooks on and experiences with nature, and what these children are most excited to learn.”
What Makes Nature-Based Education Unique?
Parents choose this innovative STEAM-based program to prepare their young children for continued academic success. Children get the chance to ‘find their place’ in the real world, at their own pace. Not only do we teach the fundamentals of primary education, the ENA teaching philosophy fosters understanding, appreciating and valuing our natural world.
Students are in and out, up and down all day – NO desks! Unlike the 15-30 minutes recess offered at other schools, our students spend more than three hours of their school day outdoors in guided instruction.
“We explore the 1,440-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve to learn about life cycles, habitats, seasonal changes, to identify plants and much more,” explains Ms. Angela. “Students are ready to learn outdoors rain or shine. Curriculum is designed with the whole child in mind. Activities are often child-directed, as there are many stimulating discoveries to be made in the woods.”
One example Ms. Melissa shares is a lesson from last fall. “We set out for our morning hike, expecting to see spiderwebs covered in dew. Students were thrilled to discover a spider crawling across the trail carrying its egg-sac. From this observation alone, students learned that not all spiders live in webs, that spiders begin their lives in an egg-sac and they have eight legs.”
The Nature Academy is a SACS/AdvancED-accredited school licensed through the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning’s Bright from the Start offering Preschool and Kindergarten-1st Grade programs, managed and operated by Elachee Nature Science Center. The school year runs August through May and follows the Hall County Schools’ calendar. Visit www.ElacheeNatureAcademy.org to learn more about our teaching philosophy and what daily discoveries look like.