Author Archives: Joy O' Nature

About Joy O' Nature

I am a naturalist on the education staff here at Oatland Island Wildlife Center. I earned a B.S. in Terrestrial Ecology with a minor in Wildlife Biology from the University of Vermont. I recently received my MPH in Environmental Health from the University of Arizona. I have been a classroom science and environmental educator; instructing all ages from preschool to college, for most of my educated life.

Commotion in the Ocean

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HAPPY WORLD OCEAN’S DAY (June 8, 2018)

To celebrate our oceans we danced like shrimp, clams, dolphins and fish to Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid and then read I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry, my favorite ocean story about a giant squid with a big ego and a good attitude.

We made these ocean view sun catchers to complete our program:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How I do Toddler Tuesday

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I don’t know if I have ever spoke about my method as a teacher of little learners so I will comment a little about my methods:

  1.  Each child is precious and names are important.  You should know all your friends names right? That is why I spend so much time going over who is in the class.
  2. Singing The More we get Together is how we start the class.  Not only do I really believe the lyrics, but it is a nice formal beginning to a class.
  3. We say it with our hands often. We need to learn to communicate in all ways and sign language is a great way to start developing language.  We sign a lot of things.
  4. Sing it, act it, be it.  I try to bring singing and movement into every class.
  5. Story time.  I often will use a short book that will help remember the theme of the class by. Some of us are language learners and find so much inspiration from a story.
  6.  Make something.  What a better way to reinforce our learning than to play at home with that duck mask you made, or gaze at the 3-d whale you painted in class that sits on your dresser.

Some educational philosophy believes that you should repeat a theme multiple weeks in a row. I have thought about that; but I believe I would lose interest from the community.  What I do instead is repeat a theme annually.  I hope that the caregivers and the parents help reinforce the subject that we learned about in class, that is why it is so important for adults to be present and participate as well.  (besides it is more fun that way!)

painting the cougar castle    walk-like-an-animal  2017-01-17 10.02.31

microscope matching2

Whatever the theme, we sure have fun learning!

Small World

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We learned all about magnification on this day so we could use our eyes to see the details of a small world.  Check out our youngest microscopists:hand lensesmicroscope matching2microscopes

They did it! They could actually see the image.  How do I know, I had this matching game where they had to pick the picture of what they saw under the microscope and then try to figure out what it was in the Macro world.

I love teaching these wonderful minds!

 

 

 

 

King for a Day–Cats Love Boxes!

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We had such a fun day making a cardboard castle for our recently turned 5 year old cougar.  I had so may little kitty helpers to paint the castle.  At the end of the program, we made cougar masks and paper tails and then pounced down to the exhibit to see the cougar and castle in action.  Here are highlights of the day:

 

Here is the video of his first interaction with the castle if you missed it:

 

He was more attracted to the ice dragon that the animal keepers made for him.  He kept coming back to the castle all day.  I am sure it made his day!

Thanks everyone!  Special thanks to our keepers who never get thanked by the animals they keep!  Happy Zookeepers Week!~  We have the greatest team here at Oatland Island Wildlife Center!

 

animal keeper on cougar day