The Prairie Wetlands Learning Center now offers a publication which provides teachers, parents, and other educators a way to lead the hearts and minds of children and adults into nature. Titled “The Compass to Nature: Teaching in the Outdoor Classroom,” the booklet is available at our web site.
We hope if you are looking for an innovative yet simple way to lead people into nature, this publication may be of support to you. Perhaps even a small part of it may help guide your teaching practice. The Compass to Nature is free for anyone to use, anywhere, any time of year. It includes four points that provide time-tested, unfailing direction for all who seek to lead others in growing a connected, caring relationship with the world we live in. The four Compass points are Place, Phenology, Naturalists, and Journals, held together by the Sense of Wonder. This user-friendly booklet explains each Compass point — and wonder — and outlines its Top 10 Field Activities such as the Seton Watch, Bio Blitz, and Sketching.
No one set out to develop a method for teaching outdoors when the Prairie Science Class partnership started in 2003 by Fergus Falls School District 4th grade teacher, Dave Ellis. Rather, the Compass to Nature approach is an unforeseen product of the now internationally-recognized partnership which evolved over the years. The innovative experience of professional teachers and educators guiding the same children outdoors, daily, year-round, led to its development. We use the nature just outside our door as an integrating context for science, language arts, math, art, health, and social studies. While replicating the partnership is less likely, using the teaching methodology is easily applied to any outdoor site.
Thank you for letting us share The Compass to Nature with you.