Date: April 10, 2006
Contact: Lindsay Gladstone
Governors State University
Phone: (708) 534-7090
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For immediate release
University Park, April 10, 2006 - Mix 265 elementary school students, with 45 student teachers, 750 acres of the great outdoors, budding trees, blooming flowers, a pond teaming with life, flocks of ducks and geese, bullfrogs, and a beautiful spring day, and what do you get?
It all adds up to an environmental education opportunity which benefits both the young students and their student educators.
Under the guidance of Dr. Colleen Sexton and Bruce Ketcher of Governors State University’s College of Education, and their college students, the children of Jefferson Elementary School in Chicago Heights participated in a day of environmental education activities on the grounds of the university. The first through eighth graders were taught by students currently studying to be elementary school teachers.
The GSU students developed lessons using environmental education resources such as Project Learning Tree and Aquatic Project Wild which are supplied by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
“Learning is a social experience. People learn and communicate during hands-on educational experiences, said Ketcher. “This was a wonderful opportunity for the elementary school children to see science and nature firsthand in the world outside the classroom.”
Added Ketcher, “They learned to recognize the signs of new life. They discovered different animals, plants, and insects while learning scientific concepts and vocabulary. The learned that science is all around them.”
Terry Brink, Principal of Jefferson Elementary School, was very pleased that every student in her school was able to participate.
“With limited resources, we could not have supplied such a wonderful educational opportunity to our students. We are very happy to partner with Governors State University so that their college students and our elementary school students have the chance to learn together.”
According to Dr. Seton, “Previously, our college students have had experience teaching in the classroom, but this outdoor education opportunity gives them a very different view of teaching and managing students. They learn how children react in a new setting. It is a unique and beneficial educational opportunity for them.”
The outdoor environmental education program is an example of one of the many opportunities students enrolled in GSU’s teacher education degree programs have to interact with, teach, and learn from schoolchildren.
“These many and varied experiences help create better prepared and more effective educators,” said Dr. Sexton.