Teacher: We’re going to have lots of dandelions.
Look, these are seeds.
Edwin: Watch this.
Teacher: So when they go on the playground, they’re going to…
Edwin: Watch this. (Shakes dandelion)
Teacher: That works much better, doesn’t it?
Nature play presents opportunities for teachers to introduce scientific concepts. In this video, we see a teacher join Fawn and Edwin, both age 4, as they blow the seeds from dandelions growing on the playground. Their teacher encourages their curiosity about the flowers by crouching down on their level and starting a conversation about the seeds. She builds their scientific knowledge about living things as she describes the flowers, names the seeds, and explains that blowing the seeds will spread them and more dandelions may grow.
Teaching Practices That Help Children Meet Benchmarks
- 1.E.ECb: Exhibit curiosity and interest in learning new words heard in conversations and books.
- 1.E.ECc: With teacher assistance, use new words acquired through conversations and book‐sharing experiences.
The teacher uses words such as seeds and dandelions. She also helps the children understand what these words mean by pairing the words with actions and explaining them to the children.
- 12.A.ECa: Observe, investigate, describe, and categorize living things.
The children show their curiosity about living things when they pick the dandelions from the ground. The teacher facilitates an investigation of the dandelions and expands their knowledge by labeling the seeds and explaining that more dandelions will grow on the playground.
About this Resource
Setting(s) for which the article is intended:
- Child Care Center
- Family Child Care
- Preschool Program
- Faculty / Trainer
- Parents / Family
- Teachers / Service providers
Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
- Preschoolers (Age 3 Through Age 5)