Homeschool students have been spending time in Florida – without leaving their homes in Glouster.
In response to the pandemic, Rural Action Americorps member Madison Donohue, who works with the Environmental Education team, has been providing programming at the homes of four families during the past six months.
“Providing programming at the children’s homes means they already have a deep and rich connection to the land on which they are learning,” Madison says. “These connections spawn the type of vast imaginary play that children have a gift for creating. On Fridays, they spend most of their time in ‘Florida,’ a small patch of evergreen trees that forms a miniature peninsula extending into a pond, much as Florida juts into the Atlantic.“
Using the Environmental Education interdisciplinary teaching method, Madison spends 12 hours a week outside with the children, who are ages 2-7. The activities are as broad as the children’s imaginations, ranging from animal tracking to fire building to orienteering.
The seasons also help determine activities. When temperatures dipped below freezing, the children explored the frozen pond. They worked on an emergency exit plan with their parents before proceeding, established rules and boundaries, and spent the rest of the day out on the ice. They made observations in preparation for ”sit spot studies,” where they use all five senses to make observations. During a trip to “Florida,” one of the students reported that Florida smelled like a forest.
And what does a forest smell like?
If you are interested in supplemental curriculum for your homeschool student, please email Environmental Education Manager Darcy Higgins for more information.