The First 5 San Francisco Connecting Children to Nature program integrates professional development, hands-on nature experiences for educators, and teacher action projects over a six-month period. This year, they worked with educators, leaders, families, and community partners at 15 Early Childhood Centers and 14 Family Childcare sites to ‘green’ educational spaces and increase nature-based curriculum.
SF Rec & Park and the Presidio Trust Forestry teams provided 329 wooden stumps from downed park trees to support this effort. SF Botanical Gardens donated 15 large bamboo plants.
In 2019-2020, the work will continue to encourage and offer resources to teachers who have been involved so far and expand its reach to additional sites.
At Storybook School, where tree stumps were added to the outdoor play area, students have been practicing their balancing skills by walking from one end to the other, jumping off into the sand pit, and even offering a helping hand to their younger classmates.
At Wu Yee Generations, open-ended natural materials were added to the math and science area. Almost immediately, students started working together to explore, count the blocks, measure and experiment. They were excited to see how many they could stack without it falling. After coming back from a field trip to zoo, they used the wooden blocks, twigs, rocks, and shells to create habitats for the animals.
“From this project, I was inspired to be more creative in thinking about how I can gather and utilize more natural resources from our natural environment.” – Teacher Joanne