Resources

We're constantly looking for great resources for our members. Below is a complete list of the resources we've gathered so far. You can select the types of resources you're looking for. To select more than one type of resource, hold the control button while you make your selections.

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The Children and Nature Network offers a range of programs aimed at connecting children, families, and communities to nature. This organization is closely associated with Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, and their site contains valuable research summaries, lots of ideas for ways that families can connect with nature, and more.

These abstracts and studies from the Children & Nature Network summarize research supporting the benefits of connecting children to nature. Abstracts include an executive summary of each research report; full citation; and a PDF if available, or a link to each study in its entirety, or contact information if the study is not available online.

For much of human evolution, the natural world was one of the most important contexts of children's maturation. Indeed, the experience of nature was, and still may be, a critical component of human physical, emotional, intellectual, and even moral development. Yet scientific knowledge of the significance of nature during the different stages of childhood is sparse. This book provides scientific investigations and thought-provoking essays on children and nature.Children and Nature incorporates research from cognitive science, developmental psychology, ecology, education, environmental studies, evolutionary psychology, political science, primatology, psychiatry, and social psychology. The authors examine the evolutionary significance of nature during childhood; the formation of children's conceptions, values, and sympathies toward the natural world; how contact with nature affects children's physical and mental development; and the educational and political consequences of the weakened childhood experience of nature in modern society.

Community Playthings is a site dedicated to high-quality wood furniture, learning materials, and toys for kids. These materials are designed to withstand the elements, and are safe for outdoor play. The site also provides room planning tools for classrooms and homes.

This book examines the reasons why children should interact and connect with real animals, and it identifies the rich learning that results. You'll find lots of practical ideas to create authentic experiences that bring children and animals together - even if live animals are not permitted in your setting.

Cooperative Ecology and Place

Coop Ecology provides the essential design features for those wishing to start a school based on cooperative and ecological principals. Though out of print, this is a PDF version for free. It has been used by dozens of place-based schools since its publication almost twenty years ago.

The 48-page guidebook Creating & Retrofitting Play Environments: Best Practice Guidelines serves as an educational resource and training tool that highlights research-based design procedures for both parks and school grounds. The publication brings cost effective design solutions to communities to support the development of new play environments and the retrofit of existing play areas.

Cultivating Joy and Wonder brings Education for Sustainability into your early childhood classroom through engaging activities, essays, and resources that encourage children to explore and engage in the world around them. The book is the fruit of Shelburne Farms’ years of experience in early childhood education and sustainability, both on the Farm and with our partners at the Sustainability Academy and King Street Center in Burlington, Vermont. The guide is available for free download.

Transform outdoor spaces into learning environments where children can enjoy a full range of activities as they spend quality time in nature. This book is filled with guidance to help you plan, design, and create an outdoor learning program that is a rich, thoughtfully equipped, natural extension of your indoor curriculum. Cultivating Outdoor Classrooms promotes the idea that if you can do it indoors, you can probably do it outside as well.

The Early Childhood Environmental Education Rating Scale (ECEERS) is a formative evaluation tool designed to assist programs in improving their environmental education curriculum. Private and public early childhood programs, be it center-based child development or family day care centers, can all benefit by making needed improvements in the quality of activities, experiences, interactions, and instruction pertaining to the world of nature and its value in society. Environmental education centers, too, may benefit through improvements in curriculum that better respond to the abilities, interests, learning styles, and motivations for learning of young children.

Early Childhood Environmental Education Programs: Guidelines for Excellence is part of a continuing series of documents published by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) as part of the National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education. The project is committed to synthesizing the best thinking about environmental education through an extensive process of review and discussion. Hundreds of individuals and organizations representing all aspects of early childhood education and environmental education reviewed working outlines and drafts. Reviewers include classroom teachers, daycare and early childhood education center staff members, educational administrators, environmental scientists, curriculum developers, and natural resource agency and education department staff members.

According to site creator Rusty Keeler, the Earthplay site is an online community designed to help people create playscapes that connect children with nature. The site includes ideas for do-it-yourself playscapes, resources, a blog, and more.

This short guide from the World Forum Foundation's Nature Action Collaborative for Children and Nature Explore provides early childhood education centers with tips and ideas for greening their facilities. The guide includes ideas for improving energy efficiency, conserving water, and improving air quality.

Nature-based preschools are powerful programs that fuse early childhood and environmental education to develop a child’s lifelong connection with the natural world. With the number of this unique, cutting-edge program growing throughout the country, many nature centers are asking, “Is a nature-based preschool right for us?” Establishing a Nature-Based Preschool helps answer that question, and provides a how-to guide to move from concept to implementation.

Exchange is committed to supporting early childhood professionals worldwide in their efforts to craft early childhood environments where adults and children thrive – environments that foster friendship, curiosity, self-esteem, joy, and respect; where the talents of all are fully challenged and justly rewarded. Exchange often includes articles related to connecting children to nature and other topics of interest to early childhood environmental educators.

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