The Benefits of Environmental Education For Primary School Children
MetadataShow full item record
Part one elaborates on the benefits of incorporating environmental education into the United States education system. Over the past several years, Americans have become increasingly' disconnected from their environment. Today's society has become so structured and sterile that we no longer experience the outdoors like we once did. Children have especially been affected, moving their play indoors with increasing frequ~ncy and suffering from what has to come to be called "nature deficit disorder." Environmental education offers a solution to this lack of nature in children's lives. Environmental education is a wide ranging discipline which uses the natural world as a teaching tool to both learn in and about. An incorporation of environmental education, specifically including a regular usage of one's local environment, into the traditional education system can provide a wide variety of benefits for students, teachers, and communities. The benefits of environmental education can be seen in education, health, and the establishment of an environmental ethic. An integrated form of education, as well as the involvement of hands-on science can excite students and provide a more thorough, accessible understanding, potentially resulting in decreased dropouts and increased test scores. In terms of health, environmental education offers the opportunity for outdoor stimulation as a solution to both childhood obesity and ADDjADHD symptoms, as well as allow for more thorough development during childhood. Lastly, environmental education can also improve environmental literacy, and potentially establish an internalized environmental ethic and a reconceptualization of nature. Overall, environmental education offers us an ability to reconnect with ,nature and regain all the benefits we experienced in the past. Part two is a curriculum created for the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary in Augusta, Michigan. The curriculum is intended for use j;)y elementary school teachers bringing their students to the Sanctuary for field trips. The activities are designed to enhance the experience of visiting students and create a more ~irect connection between what is learned at the Sanctuary and what is taught in the classroom. The activities focus on three main themes: adaptations, food chains, and migration. The nature of the activities are also such that they may be used in their entirety or individually. They are purposefully independent so that they may be adapted for each teacher's need. The intent of the curriculum is to promote environmental education in the classroom and further develop many of the lessons learned while out at the Sanctuary.