Using A Multisensory Approach to Environmental Education
When I’m leading kids’ environmental education programs, I enjoy incorporating all the senses in order to help cement the concepts I’m teaching in a fun and engaging way. I try to include movement, crafts, storytelling, and song, Although I am admittedly the world’s worst singer, the kids never seem to mind and we have a blast singing together.
Here’s a fun little video I made of me singing (don’t laugh too hard!) a rendition of a wonderful kids nature song, The Jolly Robber Jay, written by my friends and colleagues; Stephen Hein and his lovely wife, Kristen Hein Strohm.
About the Songwriters
Stephen and Kristen, the song’s writers, have a ‘geofolk’ ensemble that perform under the name Riparia. You can see them performing some of their songs on their YouTube channel.
I plan to link to audio files of more of their songs soon. They have recorded a couple of CDs as well, and if you are interested in learning more about them or purchasing a CD, contact Kristen by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
A Young Naturalist’s Song book
I designed and illustrated a song book that includes the Jolly Robber Jay song. Feel free to download the songbook and use it (load time might be slow, it’s a big, colorful file!)
I created it to accompany the nature education programs I provide through various organizations. The songbook includes the words to 14 nature based songs for kids written by Stephen Hein & Kristen Strohm (whose band goes by the name ‘Riparia’) The songbook includes both nature songs for kids and folk songs for adults, with fun illustrations and photographs and plenty of room for notes and sketches. I’ve used these songs and this book with lots of kids and they really love it.
Here’s what one parent wrote to me after a program I taught using these songs:
“Thanks Christine for sharing your passion and expertise with us in your wonderful class today. Both my kids loved it and so did I. I appreciate you being so supportive of our different skill levels. And your nature songs were a big hit – the girls have been singing them all afternoon!”
Link to download A Young Naturalist’s Songbook (load time might be slow, it’s a big, colorful file!)
Other ways I use all the senses in my programs
To keep engagement high, I use a multisensory approach to teach the concepts of environmental education, including natural history stories, poetry, origami, charades, costume making, sketching and journaling. Here’s just one example that goes along with the above video, a word search activity we complete after singing the song and learning about birds. Link to the Jolly Robber Jay Word Search activity.
Please feel free to share your ideas for making environmental education principles stick in kids minds.