Croydon Woods Preserve is just a short walk from Keystone Elementary, and nature is an incredible resource for learning and wellness. Our event aimed to collaborate with the teachers and show them how to utilize the woods as a resource to supplement their in-class learning and engage students.
Since we can’t be there every day (as much as we would love to), we want the teachers to feel comfortable taking their students out into the woods for lessons, reading, art, play, and however else they see fit for their students. We showed the teachers the blue loop trail, some features of the property such as the outdoor classroom (the stone seating area; it’s open to everyone, not just the school), the pollinator patch, the nature play areas, the life under logs stations, and the brand new educational signs along the trail.
Not many schools have direct access to natural spaces like Croydon Woods, so we want to do our best to ensure that the teachers know they are welcome and encouraged to use the woods and have the resources to do so. Not everyone is comfortable walking the trail, let alone with 30 small children, so providing the teachers with knowledge about Croydon Woods’ history, getting them familiar with the path, and showing them the plants and animals that live there, was essential for them to feel comfortable using it. We were merging/sharing resources through this guided hike, by helping the teachers expand their environmental knowledge and outdoor comfort, so they can use the woods as an extension of their classroom and curriculum-based lessons.
This was also an excellent opportunity to answer questions and invite them to use the woods with the students whenever they would like! Children are in school most of the day for a large chunk of the year. The more teachers we encourage to use the woods regularly, the more students will experience nature and create a connection to nature. A few teachers discussed that their students were very excited to learn that they might get to go during class.
Special thanks to our Community Engagement Programs Manager Shannon Fredebaugh-Siller and our Community Programs Associate Kaylyn Brindisi for leading the event.