At this point in time, I find the world of sustainability overwhelming. There are some many possibilities in so many fields of study and application. Every time I research sustainable practices I gain more knowledge that can be applied in so many facets.
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So, I not sure currently what my dream-job is the field of sustainability. I know that I want to be an advocate for a sustainable world and I like the idea of promoting green communities. I like the idea of “farm to table” services and sustainable forms of food production. But I also, like the idea of natural methods of remediating water and soil resources.
Many of the interests in the sustainable field that I listed, I do not currently have the skill-set to apply. To complete the homework assignment, I did choose an interest that fits the skill-set that I currently possess and applies the theories of sustainability in an educational sense.
Nature-based learning is not just about teaching future generations to be good stewards of the earth. It is about the development of the whole child through the interconnections of their earthly origins. The methodologies of nature-based learning are about the total emersion of academic development and human development. It is a venue in which all learning styles are addressed, and the 5-senses are actively engaged. The nature-based curriculum provides a cornucopia of learning pathways where in which a child becomes a full participant in their own educational process and are confidently able to own their own deductions.
The outdoor classroom engages the mind, body and soul. Children are given the freedom to use the boundless discoveries in an outdoor environment to develop their imagination, ability to self-express, gross and fine motor skills, critical thinking, social interaction and other learning developmental mile-stones.
Nature-based learning is not only an application for holistic learning for the learner it is also, a vehicle for preparation for living in a sustainable world. This current generation is on the cusp of a future in which sustainable practices will be a normal application in every aspect of life. Through nature-based learning, children will be able to make direct physical connections with the elements that make up natural and man-made resources that are used daily. Children will also develop a greater understanding of the interconnections and impacts that human populations have on the earth’s ecological processes.
The oracle of this holistic approach to learning is the nature-based educator. The Nature-Based Educator is responsible for building curriculum that meets academic requirements for each developmental level; however, they must also go beyond the standard application and presentation. Nature based curriculum walks a delicate balance between allowing a child the freedom to discover their own understanding and careful, constructive guidance from the educator.
The nature-based educator must be willing spend most of their teaching time outdoors. They must be adaptive in creatively intertwining standard teaching curriculum with the overriding theme of outdoor education and hands-on learning. Curriculum Development and preparation for nature-based is more intense then the standard classroom curriculum. This is based on the fact that the nature-based educator will be working in an environment with unpredictable variables. The classroom is the great-outdoors, with no walls for spatial boundaries. The nature-based educator will need to build a curriculum that utilizes what nature has to offer on any given day. Safety and protocols must also be built into each activity. Again, safety is another facet in which nature-based education walks a fine-line. The overriding philosophy of the outdoor classroom is to give children the freedom to explore. This means, climbing trees, rolling logs, playing in a stream, building forts and so on – all of which are considered potential hazards in a standard classroom setting.
A nature-based educator must be willing to embrace the elements of the great out-doors and be willing to turn any unpredictable natural phenomena into a learning opportunity.
It is with great enthusiasm that I submit my application for the position of Senior Nature-Based Curriculum Developer.
I have extensive experience in science, nature and recreational education program/curriculum development, presentation and training. My past job experiences have given me a wide variety of program development and facilitation in the classroom, outdoor nature education, and recreational environments. I have worked with all age levels including infants to seniors. I also, have significant experience in customer relations and recreation/park operations.
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