Learning With Nature
Connection with nature has been a significant theme during the first semester of the 2020/21 school year! The Forsyth community has been spending even more time outside than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, getting outside provides a variety of health and wellness benefits! According to the Children & Nature Network’s Municipal Action Guide, spending time in nature can produce:
- Improved health outcomes
- Higher academic achievement
- Increased social and emotional learning
- Strong social connections
- Increased creativity, self-esteem, focus
- A greater sense of environmental stewardship
The Go Green Forsyth Committee for Sustainability initiated a “Learning With Nature” project to encourage our students of all ages to write (or dictate!) and illustrate a personal piece inspired by the title. Mrs. Christine Torlina, Lower School Science Teacher, compiled all of the submissions into a “Learning with Nature” book for the Forsyth School library. One submission from each grade level (above and below) was shared on Forsyth's Facebook page in December 2020.
Eyas Program (Ages 2–3): “I found a dead worm on the grass. I picked it up and took it to Mrs. Harris. My friends looked at the worm and touched it. The worm was crunchy and rough.” (dictated)
Pre-Kindergarten (Ages 3–4): “It is a picture of outside. The kale is growing. The blue sky and the sun.” (dictated)
Junior-Kindergarten (Ages 4–5): “I found the first one in a hole, then this one under a rock. I can’t really talk to the snail, but I wish I could.” (dictated)
Senior-Kindergarten: “I like being in the tent be kus I git to be in nacher. I like seeing the berds.” [sic] ("I like being in the tent because I get to be in nature. I like seeing the birds.)
Grade 1: “I like seing the monarks.” [sic] ("I like seeing the monarchs.")
Grade 2: “A bee landed near me in the tent. It landed on my backpack. I was scared! I moved away from the bag, and it came near me. I was very still. Buzz, Buzz, Buzz! It buzzed around me, but it went away! Pew!!”
Grade 3: "Hi Ms. Torlina! I no what your thinking what she’s not in STL! And you are right, I'm not. I’m in Yellowstone Natinal Park. I was there about a month ago. OK so when I was there we were on the way back from seeing a! bear! eating! a! elk! and so we were waking back and I stepped in bison poop in my white shoes! So when we got back my dad washed my shoes with a TOOTHBRUSH! It was so crazy! But we had a really fun time so it was werth it, and ya that’s my story. [sic]
Grade 4: "One time a couple of weeks ago my friend and I were looking for grasshoppers in the tall grasses next to the Sport Court and Falcon Field. My friend was pushing away the front of the grass clumps and peering inside. I was walking on Falcon Field when my friend yelled, 'Spider!' I hurried back to the tall grasses thinking it was just a small spider, but it was big! It had a shiny white web and the body was black with yellow spots. Then break ended and we went back to our tent and continued with the day’s classes. When I got home, my parents and I looked up what type of spider it was. It was a yellow garden spider and it ate grasshoppers. I felt like I had learned a lot about the spider and I felt like I accomplished something."
Grade 5: "I started biking more in Forest Park and around the neighborhood, and I learned how to penny-board while walking my dog around the block. Also, I noticed that these activities made me more relaxed and in a good mind-set. I hope I can start doing these activities after I finish homework. I also noticed that flowers and leaves were changing, and the weather changed as well."
Grade 6: "Soccer games are very exciting. We play on grass, and it’s usually either very cold or very hot because we play on open fields. However, there are many trees of various colors surrounding the field. The leaves are red, yellow, orange, or just plain green, and occasionally are blown onto the field by the wind. Birds passing overhead drop beautiful feathers (and sometimes bird droppings). While playing soccer, I usually never realize this, but we’re always surrounded by nature."