WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/936516

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Page 165 of 227

Carolyn S. Collins has been teaching in Wellesley since 1994, and, in 2013, she was named the K-5 Science Coordinator for the Wellesley Public Schools. According to Collins, the main goal of the Nature/ Environmental Walk program, that was renamed "Field Investigations" in 2015, is "to enrich and support the classroom curriculum and to extend classroom learning into schoolyard explorations." As initially conceived, the program was developed to sharpen observation skills, help children make connections between classroom activities and the natural world, and to empower children to learn through their own observations rather than waiting to be taught. When a new life science curriculum was implemented in the fall of 2015, the continued success of the Field Investigations program was pos- sible due to the efforts of a committed group of parents who represented each elementary school as the Environmental Aid Coordinators (EAC) group. Over the past three years, this group has met regularly to syn- chronize the material and worksheets, organize volunteers, and run a pre-program volunteer training session at each elementary school. The groundwork accomplished by the EAC group has laid the foundation for the next stage of evolution for the Field Investigations program and will align vertically within each grade-level curriculum as students progress from Kindergarten through fifth grade. EAC team member and Hardy Elementary School parent Ansley Martin has been involved with the nature walk program for the past 10 years. According to Martin, the biggest difference between the new program and its predecessor is that it's led by teachers, with parents in a sup- porting role. (The previous program was run entirely by parents.) "With the new curriculum," he says, "the teacher leads and instructs while parents serve in a support- ing role during the active exploration of the school- yard. As such, you ensure all the students are getting the same level of engagement and instruction and you take a lot of pressure off parents from having to learn the material". "The positives of this program/ outdoor education is that children get to do some outside learning and have their curiosity piqued. They learn so much by watching the nature around them." – S t e p h a n i e J u m a / E A C t e a m m e m b e r Hardy Elementary School third graders study the weather and learn how various structures are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. R A M A R A M A S W A M Y education "empower children to learn through their own observations" 164 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 8

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