The average 3 year old can identify over 100 brands.
These aren’t just child friendly brands but cars, stationary and more. Yet, they struggle to identify any of their local flora or fauna.
if no-one knew what an admiral butterfly looked like, would we recognise it’s beauty? If no-one knew what a bee was, would we comprehend the importance they have on our environments? Learning how to interpret the small signs, the shape of a leaf, the colour of a petal, the size of a bird all helps us pick up clues in our environment and helps children decipher the world around them.
Being able to pick up on these clues at a young age can help learning. If children learn to look for the little details they can learn to identify the different patterns in words to help them spell.
But more than this, the excitement you feel when being able to identify something is catching. It makes you want to be able to identify more. And then when you find something you do not know, well, you really do get a thrill. Of course, that makes you want to work out what it is which means consulting the internet or books, which helps children with their reading and understanding information.
How Do We Build Those Skills
I know as an early teacher I was absolutely useless at identifying different types of trees. I would try and try but it just felt like the information would not go in. It was when I was on a course with the Field Studies Council and I explained this to an expert there that things changed.
He said very simply that what he did to learn them was simple but it worked. Every week or 2 he would read about a new tree or plant in his local area. Learning what the leaves or petals looked like, the bark and even into the myths and legends about it. Then, for the next week or so, every time he was out he would set himself the challenge of spotting one. He would often collect a leaf from it to remind himself what it looked like.
After the course I headed home and started to do this. Selecting a tree a week and learning what I could. I would only spend around 15minutes reading up but it was enough to give myself that prompt. Then, as my week progressed, I would keep my eyes peeled. Every time I spotted my tree of the week I got that little buzz and felt great.
So, What Can You Do?
Well, that is simple really. Do what was suggested to me. Select the first tree you want to learn about. Start with one you know and is easy to spot and see how many times you can find it over the course of a week. It can be a game with your child or your class, who can spot that tree and where do they spot it. If out together, who can spot it first.
If you do just 1 tree a week for the year, by the end of the year you will know 52. Though, I am pretty sure by the end of the year you will know many more as the ones you don’t know will start catching your attention more and more.
So, head out and get spotting! Let us know how you get on.
Love Outdoor Learning offer a range of support for curriculum based outdoor learning within the school, both in primary and secondary. Our membership resource offers training and lesson ideas throughout the curriculum and we regularly share blogs with new activity ideas and thoughts on outdoor learning. We can also offer on-site training and support.
Our aim is to help support as many educators as possible. We offer free support calls to help schools understand how we can support them in their learning journey. If you wish to book one just jump over to our diary.