Friday, February 6, 2009

Children's literature

Evaluating Childrens Literature-Fostering Respect for Nature

Some general guidelines:
• Look for books that portray nature and animals with authenticity.
• Avoid cartoonish images, animals in clothing, or caricatures of the natural world.
• Discuss with children the difference between “wild” animals and “domestic” animals.
• Consider the roles of animals in the story.
• When possible, choose books that portray nature, animals and the ecosystems children will encounter in their everyday lives.
• Choose books that present nature as a positive place to be.
• Avoid books about far away places or animals rarely seen or encountered.
• Avoid books which demonize certain animals or groups of animals (predatory animals, for example)
• Avoid books with factually inaccurate information (“a penguin’s fur is soft and smooth”—penguins don’t have fur!)
• Choose books which show nature, animals, and plants as important to society.
• Remember poetry, song, and oral storytelling!
• Does the story foster any stereotyping about nature or animals?
• Does the book demonstrate respect for nature?
• Does the story present environmental topics or themes that are appropriate to the age of the audience?
• What feelings is this story intended to provoke?
• How does this story present humans’ relationship with nature?
• In this story, is the future hopeful or bleak?
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Evaluating Children's Literature by Patty Born Selly is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
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Sunday, February 1, 2009

About Small Wonders

Small Wonders is an educational consulting company specializing in nature and science.

Services include:
• Teacher workshops
• Teaching residencies
• Curriculum development and consultation
• Nature play area/Natural schoolyard consultation

Patty has been involved in nature and science education for over a decade. Accomplishments include:

• Nature program and curriculum development for early childhood settings
• Teacher training on science education for early childhood (clients include Childrens Home Society and Family Services, Head Start)
• Teaching residencies in grades K-6 as a naturalist-in-residence and environmental educator
• Teacher of early childhood and homeschool science classes at the Science Museum of Minnesota
• Consultant to early childhood centers and settings on natural play, nature in the classroom, and inquiry-based science
• Facilitator of Project Learning Tree and Project Wild for Early Childhood, a program of the Minnesota DNR
• Instructor of “A Sense of Wonder: Nature Education for Early Childhood” at Hamline University (Spring 2010) Center for Global Environmental Education
• Instructor of “Special Topics in Early Childhood-Nature” at Metropolitan State University, (Fall 2010)
• Presenter at educator workshops and conferences. Program topics include nature and science in the early years, healthy environment, and more