Guest Author - Lorel Shea
Enriching the Young Naturalist – The Nature of a Science Classroom is an excellent resource for both homeschooling parents and classroom teachers. It is a step by step guide intended to assist kids of all ages in becoming young naturalists. Lessons can quite easily be used for kindergarten up through high school students. Not many guides can cover such a broad age range, but five year olds and fifteen year olds alike can appreciate a trip to observe tidal pool life or a birding expedition. All lessons are aimed at teaching children to observe and document the natural world through fieldwork. The author, Jeff Danielian, suggests that the students utilize real field journals used by professionals, and includes information on how to purchase them. Kids will be encouraged to choose a specialty such as botany, zoology, entomology, ornithology, or geology, and to become “experts in their field” through careful research and discovery. Information is well presented and easy to follow, with book recommendations, charts, and reprintable worksheets for the instructor's use.
This book contains ten chapters and just over 120 pages. It is not terribly long, but every page has valuable advice on how to keep young people engaged and excited about their investigations. They can act as professional scientists, conduct research, take part in focus based seminars, and produce naturalist art in the form of poetry, essays, and visual arts such as paintings and sculptures. Tools required are the same used by professionals- binoculars, magnifying glasses, sketchbooks, journals, cameras, etc. Nothing needs to be terribly expensive. City kids can get in on the nature observation without traveling by visiting a natural history museum, aquarium, or zoo. Museum collections can be quite extensive and augment what a child has learned through outdoor fieldwork.
I am really thrilled with this book, and recommend it highly! It's quite easy to see how anyone from an average student to a highly gifted one could enjoy and be enriched by this program.