Farm to School & Early Ed Resources

 

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Growing Minds Preschool Toolkit

http://growing-minds.org/farm-preschool-toolkit/

“All of our farm to preschool resources are compiled into our new Farm to Preschool Toolkit. The toolkit contains all of our preK lesson plans, “This Week in the Garden” activity guides, and “Farm to School Goes Home” weekly newsletters. It also includes sourcing guidance, tips for cooking with young children, and more!” Note: I sent mine to Staples to be printed since it is 210 pages and it cost me $16.

 

Multicultural Collection of Farm to ECE Books –

http://www.pareadysetgrow.org/book-list/?ct=t(Ready_Set_Grow11_28_2017)&mc_cid=93d78583de&mc_eid=b7c5f86429

“The Food Trust’s multicultural collection of farm to ECE books highlights children’s books that feature characters from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, many of which are authored by writers of color. The list also includes a number of books that are either bilingual or written exclusively in Spanish. These books cover a wide variety of farm to ECE related topics including gardening, farms, cooking, family meals, farmers markets, shopping for food and more.”

 

Farm to Childcare Curriculum Package

https://www.iatp.org/files/2014_07_16_F2CC_Curriculum_f.pdf

“Inside this curriculum package, you will find activity ideas and resources for implementing Farm to Childcare at your childcare center. Many of these resources are ready to use, while some are examples that offer opportunities for you to customize to your own context. Lesson planning charts are provided to help you introduce the children at your center to locally grown food items and concepts.” Note: I sent mine to Staples to be printed since it is 176 pages and it cost me $15.

 

Cultivating Joy and Wonder: Educating for Sustainability in Early Childhood through Nature, Food, and Community

https://shelburnefarms.org/our-work/resources/cultivatingjoyandwonder

“Engaging activities, essays, and resources that encourage children to explore and engage in the world around them. The book is the fruit of Shelburne Farms’ years of experience in early childhood education and sustainability, both on the Farm and with partners at the Sustainability Academy and King Street Center in Burlington, Vermont”

 

My First Garden

http://rodaleinstitute.org/myfirstgarden/assets/pdf/rodale-hshs-program.pdf

“Rodale Institute, the birthplace of the organic movement, has put together this resource “My First Garden,” to help teachers integrate school gardens into their classroom curriculum. This curriculum is designed for preschool or kindergarten children, but could be adapted to suit early elementary school needs.”

 

A Roadmap for Farm to Early Care and Education: A Guide to Understanding Farm to School Opportunities in Early Care and Education Settings

http://www.farmtoschool.org/Resources/Roadmap_FarmtoECE.pdf

 

 

National Farm to School Network – Database of hundreds of resources

http://www.farmtoschool.org/resources

 

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Farm to School

http://www.farmtoschool.org/Resources/ESSA_Toolkit.pdf

“In 2015, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and it includes many new opportunities for the integration of farm to school and ECE activities in educational settings. This toolkit is designed for educators, advocates, parents, and farm to school and ECE stakeholders to understand and act upon the opportunities ESSA provides.”

 

Farm to Preschool: Farm Field Trips (By EcoTrust)

http://www.farmtopreschool.org/pdf/states/or/State_OR_Howtohostapre-kfarmfieldtrip_v2.pdf

“Short guide to planning a preschool field trip to a farm, includes information on finding a farmer, example trip schedule, and supply list.”

 

Benefits of Farm to School (Fact Sheet)

http://www.farmtoschool.org/Resources/BenefitsFactSheet.pdf

“Farm to school programs provide a variety of benefits to students, parents, schools, communities and farmers. This fact sheet offers a research-based overview of the benefits of farm to school and a list of sources. (Updated April 2017)”

 

Growing Healthy Kids through Farm to Child Care

http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/sites/default/files/phlc%20fs%20Growing%20Healthy%20Kids%20through%20F2CC%20Oct%202014.pdf

“Next to parents, child care providers can be some of the most influential people in helping children get a strong, healthy start in life. The Public Health Law Center has developed a series of resources designed to inform and support efforts to cultivate child care settings that promote healthy eating, active play opportunities, reduced screen time, and tobacco-free environments. This fact sheet explains the Farm to Child Care movement and provides tips for child care providers about how to incorporate fresh, local food and healthy food education into their programs”

 

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Early Childhood Acronyms

Early Childhood Acronyms ~ Compiled by April Zajko, M.Ed.

An acronym is a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words and pronounced as a separate word.  Acronyms are known to cause confusion or overwhelming feelings to people new to the early childhood field. I created this list for students in my community college courses. Some of the acronyms are Vermont specific, but many would be applicable to a larger audience.

NOTE: There is ample room on the second page to add additional acronyms since this list will never be complete. ~

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AHS – Agency of Human Services
AOE – Agency of Education
ASQ – Ages and Stages Questionnaire
ASQ-SE – Ages and Stages Questionnaire – Social and Emotional
BBF – Building Bright Futures
BBF SAC – Building Bright Futures State Advisory Council
BFIS – Bright Futures Information System

BSC- Basic Specialized Care

CDA – Child Development Associate

CDD – Child Development Division (within CDD)
CIS – Children’s Integrated Services (within CDD)
CLASS – Classroom Assessment Scoring System

CSEFEL – Center for Social Emotional Foundations of Early Learning
DAP- Developmentally Appropriate Practice

DEC – Division of Early Childhood

DCF – Department for Children and Families (within AHS)
EC – Early Childhood

ECE – Early Childhood Education

ECSE – Early Childhood Special Education

eMTSS – Early Multi-Tiered System of Support

ERS – Environmental Rating Scales (Related terms: ITERS = Infant and Toddlers Environmental Rating Scale; ECERS = Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale; FCERS = Family Care Environmental Rating Scale; SACERS = School Age Care Environmental Rating Scale)

FTS – Farm To School

GOLD – Teaching Strategies Gold

IPDP – Individual Professional Development Plan

M.A.T.C.H. – Mentoring, Advising, Teaching, Coaching, Consulting, and Helping
NAEYC – National Association for the Education of Young Children
T.E.A.C.H. – Teacher Education And Compensation Helps
TS Gold – Teaching Strategies Gold

TSG – Teaching Strategies Gold
VtAEYC – Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children
VCCICC – Vermont Child Care Industry and Careers Council

VDH – Vermont Department of Health (within AHS)
VELS – Vermont Early Learning Standards

Going Green Practices for Child Care Programs

Adopting environmentally sustainable practices is a wonderful way to model and teach children about being a good steward of the planet. Slowly adopting new principles and making changes to existing practices will likely be more successful than trying to change too many things all at the same time. Involving the children in your program and their families will help them have ownership of the changes, and hopefully inspires them to make similar changes in their homes.

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The “Going Green Checklist” (see below) is not meant to be a judgment about how you conduct your program, but rather as a way to reflect on what you currently do, identify one or two strategies to add, and to think about how you would like your program to be in the future.

Often teachers in larger child care centers or public schools may have little decision making power for large scale changes, but can make powerful small changes in their own classrooms. It is better to think of the grand sum of little changes, than to take on an overwhelmingly large task at first. Build off of the successes, even if it’s just teaching children to take one paper towel instead of five to dry their tiny hands! The slow but steady approach often creates lasting changes in a program because the changes become daily routines.

We can teach our children about caring for the planet through a range of rich opportunities, reading a wide selection of books on the topic throughout the year, and by creating hands on learning experiences about nature and the environment. This is not a one week experience in the month of April when it’s “Earth Day”, but rather a yearlong integrated theme that is woven into the curriculum and daily routines. It is through simple daily practices that we implement in our classroom that we can meaningfully show to both children and families. Through educating our children and modeling green practices, they will grow up knowing how to care for the Earth. It will be their love of the planet that propels them to care for it.

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Going Green Checklist

  • As plastic toys are replaced, substitute natural materials or toys made from recycled materials
  • Books about the environment are in the classroom library
  • Children bring reusable water bottle from home
  • Communicate with families about environmentally sound practices
  • Compost food scraps
  • Conservation activities done within the community
  • Daily outdoor time in nature
  • Discuss current environmental issues with children in an age appropriate way (such as drought, new recycling laws, keeping rivers clean)
  • Eco Art projects are part of the program as a way to talk about reusing and re-purposing unwanted materials
  • Eliminate paper plates and plastic utensils
  • Energy audit is conducted for the program
  • Grow plants indoors year-round as way to clean the air & teach children to care for plants
  • Growing a green wall to create a living garden in minimal space
  • Locally produced materials are used; teach how these materials do not require fuel to be shipped, and supports the local economy
  • Lower consumption of energy (lights off when we leave the room; less lights on when sunshine brightens the room)
  • Lower consumption of water (encourage quicker hand washing; use a rain barrel to water the outdoor garden)
  • Make recycled paper and discuss how paper comes from trees
  • Non-toxic “green” cleaning supplies
  • Non-toxic furnishings, wall paint, and floor coverings
  • One paper towel to dry hands
  • Organic local food served as majority of meals and snacks
  • Participate in Earth Day; or “Green Up Day” if you are lucky enough to be a Vermonter
  • Philosophy of “No such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”
  • Purchase reusable plates, bowls, and utensils for meals & snacks
  • Purchases of art supplies in large containers so less waste
  • Read about landfills and find out where our trash goes; contrast that to recycling
  • Recycling program implemented
  • Redemption of bottles is another type of recycling and can be a fundraiser
  • Seek input from families and community about ways they see the program could become ‘greener’
  • Serve milk from gallon container and eliminate lots of small cartons of trash a day
  • Switch to cloth napkins
  • Teach about reduce, reuse, and recycle & model those practices in the program
  • Teach about trees and ways we can save paper by using both sides of a paper.
  • Vegetable garden at school that supplies a portion of the food
  • Walking and riding bikes to school instead of using the car
  • Waste management
  • Worm farm as an indoor composting project

No matter the political climate or negative things happening in the world, helping to connect children to nature will have an immediate impact on them…and will likely help them become better stewards of the Earth in years to come.

*What would you add to the going green checklist? I’d love to hear your ideas!

 

 

Books for Nature-Inspired Teachers

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Full bookshelves are so inviting…don’t you just want to settle down and get reading?

Professional Books for Nature-Inspired Teachers

Compiled by April Zajko, M.Ed. (updated March 2017)

 

A Moving Child is a Learning Child: How the Body Teaches the Brain to Think (Birth to Age 7) by Gill Connell

Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela J. Hanscom and Richard Louv

Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education by David Sobel

ECO Literate: How Educators are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind by Linda Buzzell

Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray

Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) by Lenore Skenazy

I’m OK! Building Resilience through Physical Play by Jarrod Green

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens: The Handbook for Outdoor Learning by David Sobel and Patti Bailie

Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities by David Sobel

Play the Forest School Way: Woodland Games and Crafts for Adventurous Kids by P. Houghton and Jane Worroll

Sharing Nature with Children by Joseph Cornell

The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness: Five Steps to Help Kids Create and Sustain Lifelong Joy by Edward M. Hallowell

The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places by Gary Paul Nabhan

The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams

The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson

Theories of Childhood (2nd edition) by Carol Garhart Mooney

What If Everybody Understood Child Development? By Rae Pica

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