A season of learning and growth

by Nancy Sableski, Manager of Children’s Education
December 5, 2019

Children examine fungi

A season of learning and growth

Children examine fungi

Children examine fungi in the North Woods as part of the Field Study Experiences this fall. Photograph by Jeff Blackwell.

“I can’t believe we learned so much in just a few minutes!” —Elementary school student visiting the Arboretum

This fall, the Field Study Experiences at the Arnold Arboretum—our educational outreach programming for pre-school and elementary school students—expanded in all domains: more new guides, more new Boston Public School classrooms participating in the programs, and more positive feedback from teachers. With eight new guides joining a group of fifty active volunteers, our training in September involved explorations across the Arboretum landscape in preparation for programs along Meadow Road, the conifer collection, and Hemlock Hill.

We were excited to welcome Kindergarten students from Mildred Avenue K8 School when programs commenced on September 30. As fall unfolded, programs continued for children from all elementary grades as well as pre-school levels, venturing into woodlands, scouting “Squirrel Alley” for animal activity, opening fruits to find seeds, and lifting decaying logs to discover invertebrate life at eye level. We are continually impressed with the students’ ability to engage with a vibrant landscape, and with an increased number of guides we provided an ideal adult-to-student ratio to enhance conversations about the children’s discoveries. As one Boston Public School teacher stated in her evaluation of the program, “The content was appropriate to their grade level science curriculum, and was accessible to all students. I love this field trip so much because each year every single student enjoys him or herself. This experience allows students from urban environments to experience nature, some for the first time, and discover natural resources so close to their homes.”

In the fall 2019 season our programs served 1109 students, 1023 of whom were from Boston Public Schools and received free bus transportation from the Arboretum to attend a field study. With all that we’ve learned over the season, we are excited to resume and continually deepen our work with students and teachers in spring 2020!

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