I used to look at teachers who thought natural resources were awesome as kinda boring. I really couldn’t see the point.
Part of this was I had never really had an opportunity to explore a box of goodies myself. Natural resources, in my eyes, were the things we put on the science table, where they collected the dust, getting pulled out every now and again by the teacher with the homespun jersey on.
Yup. You could say I had an unnatural attitude to all things natural.
I began to get into using them not for educational purposes, but for behavioural ones. Children with tactile sensitivities can often have accompanying issues with behaviour. Working on the capacity to touch seemed to calm them down. I started to use them with children diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety and aspergers.
I then began to use them to develop oral language and critical thinking.
I recently lost my kit and so got another one last week. This one had a few surprises in it, including a bird’s nest and some papery bark.
I brought it out to show my 6, 9 and 11 year old (and a few adults) and it kept them all engaged for over an hour, exploring, stacking, feeling and talking.
I can’t imagine a plastic set of duplo blocks having the same response!
Here are some things we asked:
1. Can you tell what part of the bird this feather came from?
2. What plant do you think this is?
3. Which piece is your favourite?
4. What do you think made the holes in that piece of wood?
5. If we needed to put these into groups, how would you group them?
I think we need to use natural resources in our focussed learning times, and have them more available for children.
I get my kits from Natural Learning. They have a range of kits, and are really competitively priced. Love them.