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Environmental Education as a Teaching Tool

by Anna Kelly
May/June 1999
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/environmental-education-as-a-teaching-tool/5012758/

When educators hear the term environmental education, a number of images pop into their minds. These images could be of children planting seeds to grow flowers for Mother's Day, testing stream water for pollutants, or cleaning up an illegal dumpsite on school grounds. The range of educational activities that utilize our natural environment is wide and often overwhelming. Bringing the natural world into the classroom is a challenge because of the wide variety of options. It can also be intimidating because of the knowledge base that many educators feel is necessary. These obstacles are easily overcome with a little bit of knowledge and desire.

Taking up the challenge could benefit a learning environment on many levels. All age children gain a connection with the natural world in which they live through environmental education. This connection enhances not only children's knowledge of the natural world but also empowers them to take a responsible role in the future. Preschool age children are prime examples. When a young child builds a foundation which respects the earth, the future is opened for more learning and stewardship. The use of the environment as a teaching and learning tool is valuable through all grade levels but is truly ...

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