Studies show that students do best if parents are involved in their education. Helping with homework or reading bedtime stories are definitely important contributions. But equally important are helping kids find their passion and supporting opportunities for them to make broader connections.
Luckily there are some fabulous community resources to help parents, and we’ll profile some of them over the next few weeks. Today we’re featuring ways to support children’s learning in and about nature.
Young Naturalists: This wonderful program, run through the Guelph Lake Nature Center and supported by the Guelph Field Naturalists and their partners. Every other week, kids ages 6-10 get a chance to explore all aspect of nature through hands on activities, special guests and field trips to various nature centres. And it’s amazingly affordable. There is a similar Naturalist in Training program for kids ages 11-16.
Guelph Lake Nature Centre is just one of many ways to help kids connect with nature. Guelph is also home to Maplewood Forest School, which is based on the philosophy of Forest Schools developed in Scandinavia and England, which encourages children to learn outside by exploring nature and all it’s connections to our world. Jen Mason, the founder of the Maplewood Forest School has worked with Echo Montessori school and is looking to expand her programs for other groups.
Guelph Outdoor Preschool has also recently launched in Guelph. This school uses the beautiful surroundings of St Ignatius to offer children a play based, experiential, and child led program. You can read more at their website.
You don’t need to send your kids off to a program though. Guelph Lake Nature Centre also runs family friendly events on a regular basis. You can find more information at the GRCA calendar.
Nature in the Neighbourhood is a wonderful organization established to help Guelphites explore nature. The group offers regular walks and community programming, and has a fabulous resource page. Contact them about organizing a program in your neighbourhood.
If you want to head off on your own, why not stop by the Guelph Public Library to borrow a birding watching kit, complete with binoculars, or one of the many nature guides available in their collection.