Monday, October 24, 2011

Lens On Outdoor Learning: A Book Review

About The Book:

The outdoors is filled with rich learning experiences for young children. Packed with colorful photographs and detailed stories about children exploring and experiencing nature, Lens on Outdoor Learning will inspire you to facilitate and encourage children's learning as they spend time in nature. Each story describes how children naturally explore and create their own learning experiences outdoors. Using images, children's dialogue and actions, you will see how the natural world supports joyful and meaningful learning that connects to the approaches to learning standards. Age Focus: 3-5. Softbound, 256 pgs.

About The Authors:

Wendy Banning is program director of Irvin Learning Farm, a hands-on outdoor learning program for children and adults sited on Triangle Land Conservancy's Irvin Farm Preserve. She is an educational consultant, trainer, and photographer, as well as an experienced teacher. Wendy co-founded an independent school in Chatham County, North Carolina, where she directed, taught, and trained teachers for fourteen years and where children spent several hours outdoors every day. A member of the North Carolina Outdoor Learning Environments Alliance, she is committed to quality outdoor learning environments and experiences for children.

Ginny Sullivan is co-principal of Learning by the Yard, a partnership that combines landscape architecture and education to help schools develop their grounds for habitat, play, and learning. Ginny works with educators to re-design their outdoor spaces to help children and teachers reconnect with the natural world. An experienced classroom teacher, she has also trained teachers and directed schools, including a parent co-op nursery school. Ginny has a master's degree in landscape design from the Conway School of Landscape Design and a master's degree in curriculum development from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

My Review:

My favorite book about getting children back into nature is Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods, but I have to say Lens On Outdoor Learning is right up there with Louv's.  The book  has full color, real-life illustrations that correspond with fantastic learning activities for children of all ages. All learning areas are covered including math, science and dramatic play. 

One of my favorite quotes from the book is this one:

"Nature is thus a key player in meeting early learning standards. Where else can children lie on their backs and wonder why clouds move across the sky? Where else can they observe the transformation of a green tree into a golden one during the fall, and then watch it drop its leaves to the ground one by one? Where else can children discover where frogs lay their eggs, or come upon a dead bird and wonder what happens when an animal or a person dies? Where else can they discover ice in a bucket that yesterday held water? May of the things that happen outside for children simply cannot happen anywhere else" (p. 184)

This is the perfect book for all early childhood educators and programs to have in their library. It will encourage you and allow you to implement best practices (each national standard is explained in great easy to understand manner) when it comes to combining learning and nature. A powerful combination to be sure. Not only is this is a textbook reference for early childhood educators but perfect for parents and homeschool programs as well.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Lens On Outdoor Learning online through its publisher, RedLeaf Press

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of RedLeaf Press, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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