How Does Storytime Come Alive Outdoors?
by Katie Knight
"A master educator, whatever they are teaching, always begins with the concrete and connects to the abstract. Concrete is what we can experience and the abstract is what we cannot. Education is about relevancy, and that’s what being in Nature does."
This is what the Butterfly Christian Preschool principal, Jeanne Grevlos, said in response to being asked about the benefits of outdoor education. One of Jeanne’s favorite activities at Butterfly Christian Preschool is to “teach Faith through stories” outdoors under the forest canopy. Words, sentences, and pages come alive in nature. When Jeanne teaches story time the real world gets incorporated.
If the owl that nests nearby flies in sight of the children or hoots from a distance away the preschoolers will ask to see him. Jeanne will sometimes integrate the owl into the stories, telling the kids: “Isn’t God creative? Look at that beautiful owl!” The students not only hear the story told, they experience its tangible aspects, getting to see, hear, and be awed by the storybook owl come alive.
Just as children learn concepts from teachers and apply them on the playground, storybooks also become more applicable in Nature. The students get to hear stories while sitting under trees, feeling the breeze, witnessing insects and animals moving and exploring around them. Perhaps, to these preschoolers, Nature is a living book.
Click images below to see owls similar to the one living in the forest at Butterfly Christian Preschool.
edited by Chris Searles