RMCS first graders in Paula Jensvold’s class learn about spiders as part of the Hands on Nature program, where parent/guardian volunteers are trained to offer nature experiences to children in the classroom. Photo Credit: Erin Sutherland, RMCS PTO Vice President

Hands on Nature

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Thursday November 16, 2017

Did you know that spiders come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all share some specific characteristics - two body parts, eight legs, no wings or antennae? Students at Rick Marcotte Central School (RMCS) are learning all about spiders as part of a parent/guardian-led educational program, Hands on Nature. The program, supported for several years by the RMCS PTO, is offered through the Four Winds Nature Institute, a Vermont based, non-profit organization with the mission of “advancing the understanding, appreciation, and protection of the environment through community-based natural science education and research.”

In addition to great educational activities, Hands on Nature provides parents/guardians with an opportunity to be an active part of their child’s classroom and learning experience. Every other month volunteer parent/guardians teach an hour-long workshop in their child’s classroom exploring different concepts and topic areas of our natural community. This year there are five topic areas all centered on the theme of “structure and function in nature.” RMCS students will learn about spiders, skulls, birds, owls, and bees. Four Winds Nature Institute provides the parent/guardian volunteers with training for each topic area as well as materials, outlines, expectations, and suggested activities to use in the classroom. Through a broad range of fun, hands-on activities such as a puppet show, outdoor observations, arts and crafts, and puzzles, children are encouraged to get outside and explore the world just outside their window.

“I love the hands-on nature program because I have the opportunity to bring the classroom outdoors and teach the kids in a different exciting way. I love seeing their faces light up about learning about nature in their own backyards,” says Shannon Estep, a Hands on Nature volunteer and parent of a RMCS second grader.

SOURCE: Abby Crocker, RMCS PTO