My day at Bob Jones begins in the quiet brightness of morning. I love getting to the center before anyone else is there. I head up the little twisted drive, watching the trees and taking in the clear air and soft beauty of the place. The past few days have been especially rewarding; having a relatively decent blanket of snowfall covering everything is a treat in itself, but it was just that much more charming out at the Nature Center.
If I make it to the Center early enough, I’ll put on a pot of coffee. Then, after a few minutes of last minute preparations, the day officially begins!
This is the best part – little bright faces and quick feet come down the steps into my classroom. I watched them all say goodbye to their mommies or grandparents and then set them down to color theme-related coloring sheets until the rest of the class arrives.
Once everybody is accounted for, we begin. I have them do some energetic games to wake them up and get some energy out, and then we dive into whatever it is we’re exploring for the day. This week we were all about owls; last week it was bats, and the week before that we talked about birds and the different ways in which they had adapted to their environments.
If the weather permits, I take them outside to walk around on the paths at the Center. The beauty of being a part of one of the classes at Bob Jones is the freedom to explore and experience things that many children aren’t exposed to. All of the staff care very deeply about providing hands-on, interactive learning experiences for our students (the age range spans from infants to adults), and we work to create engaging, fun lessons.
After spending time outside, we always have at least one experiment and activity. The age group I work with is still figuring out some smaller motor skills (coloring inside of the lines, etc), so I try to do lots of age-appropriate crafts with them. And always, we try to prepare some sort of hands-on experiment for them, usually something really messy and gross. It’s easier to get a really good mess going at the Center than it is at home, right? 😉
As we get our blog back up and running, I want to keep you in the loop. I will write about my class, but I also want to shine light on other parts of Bob Jones Nature Center. There are so many interesting, unique facets to talk about. All the thoughts, activities, ideas, and little passions that keep the staff and volunteers involved at Bob Jones are things I want to communicate. They’re important to us, and we believe that our desire can only work to do good things for the community and surrounding area.
Good things are coming!