by Katie Houseman, Lloyd Center Educator/Naturalist
Geared towards children ages five to seven, the Young Naturalist Programs have been already running for a whole month! With different themes each day, participants have enjoyed hikes to the salt marsh, creative crafts and slimy science experiments!
For the first time, these programs are now being offered Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3:30 pm until August 17, 2018. Parents can choose to sign their child up for half or full day sessions, participating for one or two days, or even a whole week! With the flexibility provided, children can learn about the environment and become naturalists any day during the week!
As an educator, I have been enjoying designing lesson plans and creating fun crafts to help children learn more about the world around us. The lessons are centered around four main themes which rotate each week: In the Sky, Forest Frenzy, Ponds and Streams, and Under the Sea! In addition, we now offer Science Fridays, or Eureka! Students learn not only about animals, plants, and habitats; but also, about the science of weather, color, water, and slime!
Each theme has an area of focus, such as a habitat or group of animals. The children engage in one-on-one interactions with live animals or pull on their boots and prepare to get muddy as they explore a new environment.
Just this past week, I taught a group of young naturalists about seahorses and sea turtles. We observed live seahorses feeding and swimming, and took an up-close look at a live box turtle and a leather back sea turtle skeleton! We made our own seahorse mouths using pipettes, and tested various “seahorse foods” using beads, sand, glitter and pebbles. Participants even made their own seashell turtles to take home!
By using fun crafts like these and animal encounters, students learn and observe for themselves. Year after year, participants continue to return to summer programs at the Lloyd Center, switching over to week-long programs like Eureka!, Freshwater Wetlands, Marine Biology and Tidal Surge when they grow too old for the Young Naturalist Programs.
It’s always neat to see the combination of returning and new faces here at the Lloyd Center. We hope to see some of you here this summer, too!!!