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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Gardening with Your Children

Even as an adult, I am awed by watching seeds germinate. I check my pots every morning in case a squash plant has grown an inch overnight.

As you begin your spring planting this year, plan ways to include your children. They will also be amazed by how seeds Boy Gardeninggrow into plants. You can talk about life cycles, nutrition and the environment. This helps them learn concepts in science, but you can also help them learn about math, language and other subjects.  Some specific examples of these lessons include the following:

Let them get dirty.

Let your children play in the dirt, especially if they are under three years old. It is important for children to explore the texture of the soil and the plants. They will learn how to mold soil, to change its shape and volume and to contain a mess within a safe space for free exploration. These types of hands-on experiences help children make concrete connections to words and experiences.  Sensory based play and exploration will cultivate your children’s physical development, especially the important small muscles in their hands and the tendons in their fingers.

Teach them how to nurture.

Your children will love taking care of plants and watching them grow. Preschool age children enjoy jobs that create a sense of responsibility.  Working in a garden helps them see the fruits of their efforts, leading to a sense of pride and accomplishment. Talk to your children about the needs of the plants including food, water and sunlight. For children who are three years old and older, you can begin a conversation that compares what plants and people need to live. Your children can learn fundamental social and emotional skills like empathy, communication, cooperation and learn to identify and express feelings while gardening.

Incorporate math.

While gardening, your children can learn fundamental math skills like patterns, sequences and numeracy. Consider the following activities.

  • Patterns
    You can plan the garden with your children by grouping similar seeds together. You can plant the vegetables in rows or you can plant the flowers by color. Once the garden is growing, you can help your children to notice patterns by asking questions like these: “Which plants have thick stems? Which have thin stems?” and “How are these two plants the same?”
  • Sequences
    Track the growth of plants with your children over time. Ask them questions about the order in which parts of the plants grow. You can ask, “Which leaves grow first?” or “What grows before the flower blooms?”
  • Numeracy
    While observing your garden, ask your children to count the different parts of a plant as it grows. For example, you might ask, “How many leaves are there now?” Model and use comparison words like bigger, more than and faster.  Measure the plants with your children and talk about how much they are growing.  You can graph the height of plants over time together. Clear flowerpots can let you observe and measure the growth of roots, too.

Develop literacy.

Always engage in conversations with your children. Read books about gardens and teach them new words about plants. Teach them the language necessary to speak about how plants grow. Ask open-ended questions like “What do you see happening?” or “What do you think the garden will look like next week?” to encourage them to think and communicate about their surroundings. Use a photo album or a three-ring binder with page protectors to create a book about your gardening experiences.  You can review past experiences and encourage verbal and written language skills by reading it together. Your children can also use their creative skills to draw illustrations and decorate the cover.

At the end of the summer, we hope that you will have a beautiful garden and an enthusiastic, blooming gardener.

Five Ways to Encourage Environmental Responsibility

Conserving the environment is a priority, and helping to foster an eco-friendly mindset in children is more important than ever. Here are five ways to encourage environmental responsibility.

  1. Teach your children to garden. Gardening is an excellent way to teach your twenty20_89c7a32e-5c1e-4530-983f-92f78ca380a3child some basics of biology, such as how the sun helps plants grow, how plants produce oxygen through photosynthesis and how vegetation contributes to a healthy environment.
  2. Enjoy some fun outdoor activities. Creating a wildflower scrapbook or going on an outdoor scavenger hunt may help your child appreciate all the beauty, wonder and fun the environment has to offer.
  3. Go for a hike. Whether you walk through the woods or just around a local park, hiking lets children experience the environment while getting some exercise. The internet can be a terrific resource for finding hiking trails close to home.
  4. Start at home. Recycling and conserving electricity and water at home with your child can go a long way toward preserving the environment. You can even make a game of counting how many different items you can recycle every week.
  5. Make something new with something old. Cardboard tubes, empty milk jugs and many other items can be given new life with a little creativity. Let your imaginations run wild and create something fun!

Five Benefits of Teaching Children to Garden

Break out the seeds and bulbs because gardening season has arrived! Here are five benefits of showing your children how to garden.

  1. Gets children outside and active. Digging, planting and watering on a sunny afternoon are _72O8441_terrific ways to get some exercise while enjoying the beautiful weather.
  2. Children learn about science and the environment. This is an excellent opportunity to teach your child some basics of biology, such as how the sun helps plants to grow, how plants produce oxygen through photosynthesis and how vegetation contributes to a healthy environment.
  3. Teaches children how vegetables and fruits grow. Growing fruits and vegetables gives your child a look into small-scale farming and may encourage an appreciation for the process that brings produce to grocery stores.
  4. Encourages healthy eating. Planting a vegetable garden can lead to healthier meal times because children are more likely to try vegetables they have grown and veggies usually taste better when they are fresh from the garden.
  5. Inspires responsibility and a strong work ethic. Maintaining a garden can help children understand what the rewards of hard work are and how taking care of something requires diligence and persistence.

THE GODDARD SCHOOL HOSTS ANNUAL “ROOT FOR EARTH” CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS NATIONWIDE

Preschoolers Unite To Help Encourage A Happier, Healthier Earth

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – April 20, 2015The Goddard School®, the premier preschool focusing on learning through play for children from six weeks to six years old, announces their 5th annual Root for Earth campaign. Taking place in more than 400 Goddard School preschools across the nation, Root for Earth aims to teach children and families about the importance of eco-conscious stewardship as well as raise environmental awareness in their communities.

The Goddard School children will participate in hands-on learning activities including building Children%20Running_jpgcommunity gardens, recycled fashion runways and more. Each year, the schools participate in an Upcycling Challenge which fosters creativity and imagination by engaging children to create new projects out of unwanted materials. Photos of the “green” creations will be shared on The Goddard School National Facebook Page where the public can vote for their favorite project until Friday, April 24. Winners will be announced on Monday, April 27. As a symbol of unity and environmental awareness, the week-long campaign from Monday, April 20 through Friday, April 24 will include the “Lights Out!” initiative. Each school across the nation will shut off all non-essential lighting for an hour beginning at 10 a.m. local time on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22.

“Early environmental education helps shape children’s values, perspectives and understanding of the planet and how to interact with it. At The Goddard School, we teach children about how to play a critical role in protecting and preserving what the Earth has given us.” said Dr. Craig Bach, Vice President of Education at Goddard Systems, Inc. “Root for Earth acts as catalyst for our children to put forth an active effort and blossom into eco-conscious stewards.”

“The benefits of gardening are endless for young children. The opportunity to develop 21st century skills, like critical thinking and creativity, are presented when kids work toward a goal, such as weeding and watering before the harvest, or writing stories about their garden,” says Dave Snyder, manager of facilities and playgrounds at Goddard Systems, Inc., franchisor of The Goddard School. “Children learn cognitive skills including mathematics and science by documenting and measuring the growth of plants, and they can exercise their fine and gross motor skills through use of simple gardening tools. Though gardens are minimal in cost to create, they offer a wealth of developmental opportunities.”

At The Goddard School, environmental responsibility does not begin and end with the Root for Earth campaign. The Goddard School curriculum includes year-round eco-friendly and nature focused activities that aid children in exploring and fostering their curiosity for the world around them.

For more information on The Goddard School and the Root for Earth campaign, visit www.goddardschool.com.

In the Spotlight: The Goddard School located in Voorhees, NJ

Voorhees, NJOn April 25, we counted the votes and declared The Goddard School located in Voorhees, NJ the winner of the 2014 Upcycling Challenge!

The competition, part of The Goddard School’s national Root for Earth campaign, encouraged children, faculty and families in Goddard Schools across the country to use their imaginations to create a scene or object using recyclable materials.

The Goddard School located in Voorhees’s project depicted a scene from Dr. Seuss’s book The Lorax, including “Truffula” trees made from cereal boxes and tissue paper and “Humming-Fish” made from plastic bottles.

After reading several of Dr. Seuss’s works during the School’s Dr. Seuss Week in March, the children decided that The Lorax, a fable about the importance of preserving the environment, would make the perfect theme.

Once they had their idea, School owner Tracy Sortino emailed the parents to ask them to donate their recyclables. Over the course of three weeks, the parents donated so many recyclables that the School had to recycle the leftovers.

Children worked on the project in the School’s pre-k classroom and displayed the finished product there. The children worked so enthusiastically that it only took them a week to finish it.

Photos of the completed project were posted to Facebook.

Then the voting began.

“Kids would say, ‘Mom, go on Facebook and vote,’” Sortino said, laughing. “Everybody was so into it, and that’s exciting.”

The parents were eager to see the School win the competition, and their support helped the School earn a grand total of 675 votes. The School also racked up around 250 shares on Facebook.

Sortino added that the parents’ enthusiasm helped to further foster a sense of unity. “They [parents] got to see a different side of us,” she said. “I think that really helped to build camaraderie.”

The competition helped the children learn about preserving the environment as well as the importance of teamwork, Sortino explained. The children also learned about energy conversation during The Goddard School’s national Lights Out! hour, another Root for Earth initiative. Goddard Schools across the nation turned off all non-essential lighting for one hour from 10 to 11 AM on Earth Day.

When The Goddard School located in Voorhees was notified on May 2 about its win, the children, teachers and parents were all excited and overjoyed by the news. Most importantly, the School continues to recycle and even recycled the project after it was taken down.

The Lorax would be proud.

Camping-Inspired Birthday Party Ideas

Whether you grew up taking family camping trips or have never been camping in your life, a backyard campout for a birthday party can be fun and exciting for children and parents.  Once the children are old enough for sleepovers, a camping-inspired birthday party can create some great memories for you, your child and your child’s friends.

  • Prepare s’mores and wrap them in foil. You can bake The Goddard Schoolthem in the oven for a yummy snack or bake a s’mores-inspired cake;
  • Use clean, old tree stumps as refreshments stands;
  • Use bandanas as napkins or placemats;
  • Create a homemade, nut-free trail mix with various dried fruits, yogurt-covered raisins and sunflower seeds. Send small bags home as party favors;
  • Create a scavenger hunt. Have the children look for acorns, pine cones, leaves, etc.
  • Make pine cone bird feeders and let the children each take theirs home to tie in a tree;
  • Get a few bins of Lincoln Logs and have children craft their own log cabin creations;
  • Create a faux campfire with thick twigs collected from your yard or a bundle of firewood, and add crumpled-up yellow and red tissue paper on top;
  • Use twine and an old cardboard box to make a Welcome Campers or Camp Birthday [Child’s Name] sign;
  • In lieu of gifts, ask party guests to donate to your favorite national park;
  • Set up a large white sheet or projection screen in the yard and use a projector to show a movie under the stars;
  • Set up a few hammocks around your yard for the kids;
  • Stock a wooden crate with decks of cards, puzzles and other fun, camp-friendly games and activities.
  • Set up a fun morning buffet with your child’s favorite breakfast foods.

Happy camping!

The Goddard School Launches Annual “Root for Earth” Campaign Nationwide to Foster Environmental Stewardship in Young Children

Preschoolers Unite to Show Support for Mother Earth

The Goddard School®, the premier preschool focusing on learning through play for children from six weeks to six years old, announces Root for Earth, an annual campaign that serves to plant seeds of change in The Goddard School children, their families and their communities to create a healthier, happier earth for genera­tions to come. Now in its 4th year, this green celebration focuses on creating awareness of energy and environmental conservation, and will be taking place across more than 400 Goddard School locations nationwide April 21 through April 25.

Seeking to bring awareness to environmental stewardship, The Goddard Schoolthe Root for Earth campaign is centers on a Lights Out! Initiative, taking place on Earth Day (April 22). Each School across the nation will turn off all non-essential lighting for one hour beginning at 10 a.m. local time. Throughout the week, the children will participate in engaging activities to learn about environmental stewardship including the Upcycling Challenge. During this challenge, children and teachers will put their imaginations to the test by utilizing reused and recycled materials to create something entirely new. Photos of the new creations will be shared on The Goddard School National Facebook Page from April 21 until April 25, and the winners will be announced on May 2.

“We believe that building a respectful relationship with nature at a young age creates a foundation for children to grow into environmentally responsible adults,” said Dr. Craig Bach, Vice President of Education at Goddard Systems, Inc. “We are proud to continue the Root for Earth tradition at The Goddard School as it allows us to teach children the values of environmental conservation through activities that support collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication.”

“Gardens are of immeasurable significance to the development of young children, with almost endless opportunity for learning and very little cost to create,” says Dave Snyder, manager of facilities and playgrounds at Goddard Systems, Inc., franchisor of The Goddard School.

“Children can learn socialization, cooperation, mathematics by measuring growth, science by documenting the growth, creativity and writing skills by creating a story book about the garden,” continues Snyder. They develop fine and gross motor skills through use of simple tools and develop responsibility through garden maintenance, including weeding, watering and harvesting activities.”

At The Goddard School, environmental responsibility does not begin and end with the Root for Earth campaign. The Goddard School curriculum includes nature and wildlife related activities through exploration of the outdoors and challenging, hands-on activities.

For more information on The Goddard School, please visit www.goddardschool.com.

Root for Earth with The Goddard School!

Infants & Teacher with Bubbles ATo plant the seeds of environmental awareness in their communities, Goddard Schools across the nation are hosting Root for Earth, a week-long celebration of conservation that features a variety of activities for promoting a healthier Earth for future generations.

The celebration kicks off on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, with a flip of the switch as nearly 400 Goddard Schools nationwide turn off all non-essential lighting for one hour. Additionally, the children will participate in environmentally friendly activities throughout the week. Stop by from Monday, April 22 to Friday, April 26 to Root for Earth with us!

What do Children Learn at the Zoo?

There is so much to see and learn at the zoo! Children get to see how wild and exotic animals live, what they eat, how they sleep, how they play and interact with one another and, sometimes, how they interact with other species.

Before heading to the zoo for the first time, you may want to talk with your preschooler about what the zoo is and about the animals they will encounter there. Share a book about animals with your little one and think about the animals that you would like to see on your visit. You can also compile a list of questions that your child has about different animals and then look for the answers when you visit each animal’s exhibit at the zoo.

Spring Scavenger Hunt with your Toddler and Preschooler

Infants & Teacher with Bubbles A

If you’ve spent a lot of time indoors this winter, now is the time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors again! How about welcoming spring by going on a scavenger hunt around your yard and neighborhood and seeing how many signs of spring your family can find? Look—or listen—for some of these things:

  • A caterpillar
  • A robin
  • Baby bunnies
  • Bike riders
  • Birds’ nests
  • Birds chirping
  • Car windows rolled down
  • Children playing outside
  • Crocuses blooming
  • Frogs or toads
  • House windows open
  • Leaves budding on trees
  • People taking a walk
  • Plants emerging
  • Someone washing their car