Capstone Project Title
This project identified how nature-based activities can be integrated into nature play for preschoolers that are located at urban elementary schools. In a world that is becoming
increasingly disconnected from nature, there is a growing body of evidence which shows the life- long implications for preschoolers to their cognitive, social-emotional, and physical growth and
development with daily exposure to nature based activities. The literature review for this study defined nature play, its benefits and how it can be incorporated in an urban elementary school. It identified the benefits and barriers that preschool teachers have when providing nature play opportunities at an elementary school and how it impacts the preschool teacher’s use of developmentally appropriate practices while using Teaching Strategies Gold for student assessment. The project is divided into two parts; professional development and a guidebook. The professional development increased teacher understanding of the importance of nature play, how to identify nature play resources at the elementary school and an introduction to the nature play guidebook. Teachers reflect back to their own connections to nature and how it guides their curriculum decisions regarding nature play. The guidebook incorporates common themes such as weather, phenology, and sensory experiences enabling teachers to make observations and to scaffold learning opportunities using the Teaching Gold Strategy Gold assessment objectives. The significance of the project suggests that with the support of elementary staff and resources, preschool nature play opportunities, connected with assessment objectives, can increase in urban elementary settings benefitting all areas of development.
Developmentally Appropriate Practice, Early Childhood, Environmental Studies, Staff Development
Smith-Lossiah, Sharon, "Nature Play For Urban Elementary Preschoolers: Benefits To Their Development And Connectedness To The Environment" (2019). School of Education and Leadership Student Capstone Projects. 277.
School of Education Student Capstone Projects