In first grade, students and their teachers leave the Riverdale campus and venture into a special place, a “small square” of woods on the grounds of neighboring Wave Hill, a public garden operated by the City of New York. Every two weeks, they walk out the school gate, unlock the Wave Hill gate, and climb up the path to their designated patch of land. Working with Jonathan Billig, Wave Hill’s school programs educator, the students learn about plants, observe seasonal changes, and engage in scientific thinking. With each visit, the students develop a deeper connection with their square and with the natural world.
Explained Jyoti Gopal, an Early Learning teacher: “The ability to be able to connect to nature so closely, I think, is just very, very important for all humans, especially for young children. Being close to nature allows them to become familiar with nature, and then when you become familiar with nature, you want to learn more about nature. And then you begin to love it, and when you begin to love it there is a deep connection that is formed. You realize that this is my place and I’m responsible for it.”
To learn more, go to this video: https://vimeo.com/217871936