April 2012 – Connecticut Audubon Society has been providing first-rate educational programs for school children for over a century. Our goal is to keep improving, and in 2012 we are expanding and enhancing our school programs to provide innovative outdoor science education to more students throughout the state.
Our new programs are designed for 3rd through 8th graders, and will engage them in the scientific process via outdoor, hands-on, inquiry-based investigations – one of the largest growing needs for public school students in Connecticut.
The new programs will focus on four habitat types – woodland, freshwater marsh, meadow and pond – and on how they are affected by weather and climate and by rocks and soil; and how plants and animals have adapted to live in those four habitats.
Starting in the fall of 2012, we’ll be introducing these programs at our Center at Fairfield and the adjacent 155-acre Larsen Sanctuary, with over a dozen classes in public and private schools from Bridgeport, Trumbull and Fairfield.
We will roll out the new programs at our other centers over the next several years, and will be designing new environmental science programs for high school students.
For younger children, we’ll continue our pre-K through 2nd-grade programs, which focus on an appreciation of nature through demonstrations with our own birds of prey, both at our centers and in the schools.
Studies show that outdoor science education in concert with classroom instruction results in higher student achievement than classroom-based curricula alone. We are working with science curriculum coordinators, school teachers, and other education experts in the state to develop curricula that provide an essential resource for teachers in their efforts to meet state and national science, math, and literacy content standards.
The CAS centers and their sanctuaries, staffed with expert teacher-naturalists, serve as ideal living laboratories for these field-based science education programs.
Our aim is to teach as many young people as possible about Connecticut’s natural history and science, to improve their performance as students, and to prepare them to be good citizens and conservationists. Just as important, we want to do so while providing engaging, hands-on experiences that are fun and interesting.