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Nature center hosts workshops for preschool teachers and caregivers

A brown building has an 'OPEN' sign hanging in the front. The building has several windows and is surrounded by trees.
Stokes Nature Center
The Stokes Nature Center workshops revolve around the logistics and various benefits of incorporating nature into the learning curriculum of preschool-aged children.

The team at Stokes Nature Center has created learning workshops for preschool teachers and caregivers in Cache Valley who are interested in implementing a nature-based curriculum into early childhood education.

Sadie Enright, Nature Preschool Director, said the workshops center around the logistics and various benefits of incorporating nature into the learning curriculum of preschool-aged children.

“Children, at that age, their brains are developing so quickly," said Enright. "There's a lot of under-the-radar development that's happening that you don't even see. But when they're outside, they're making a lot of connections and they're learning problem solving. They're learning a lot of self-confidence. There's tons of social interaction that happens in the nature setting.”

The last workshop held in Logan, Utah in late May was a two-day event where a few preschool teachers and caregivers learned and observed nature-based activities and other educational practices.

Enright said day one included a tour of the facility’s indoor and outdoor classrooms. Teachers and caregivers spent the day learning about the nature-based curriculum, sharing-ideas with the Stokes Nature Center Staff and gathering preschool education resources.

The second day was an observation of a typical day with the Stokes Nature Preschoolers. Teachers and caregivers in training watched how these young students learned and how to implement nature activities into their traditional education.

“Bringing young children into nature and making them feel like they're part of it and they're comfortable there and that they really belong there is something we hope sets them up for just that same feeling throughout their lives," Enright said.

The next Nature Preschool workshop will be held in Salt Lake City by the Stokes Nature Center in cooperation with the USEE, Utah Society for Environmental Education. That event is planned for the first week of August and sign-ups will begin soon through the USEE’s website.

Sydney Lasike graduated from Dixie State University, in St. George, Utah, in 3 years with a bachelors degree in Media Studies (Multimedia Journalism Emphasis). There, she competed as a student-athlete on the women’s volleyball team, and was the Features Editor of the school newspaper, Dixie Sun News. She was awarded the 2021 Media Studies Student of the Year Award, and graduated with Latin Honors - Magna Cum Laude.