TREES & ME

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The general topics in this curriculum—including shapes, sounds, textures, and seasons—all serve as pathways for kids to learn about different aspects of trees and connect those lessons to other areas of their education. Each section opens with an introduction, providing context for adults and suggesting ways to introduce the topic to youngsters; this is followed by suggestions for indoor and outdoor activities and ideas for ways parents and caregivers can reinforce lessons at home. Concepts and activities that are most appropriate for children 3 and under are highlighted. The book also points out connections between the lessons and curriculum standards, and it offers related children’s books for further reading. The lessons ably explore why trees matter and encourage kids to experience them in multidisciplinary and multisensory ways. This isn’t a book intended for casual readers, but its intended audience of educators will likely find it useful, and parents in search of ideas for exploring nature with children may also find it a help; it introduces basic types of trees, the functions of different tree parts, how humans use wood in everyday products, and the interdependence of trees and animals, among other concepts. The book is well organized, with a colorful, attractive layout. Instructions for specific activities, such as making toilet-paper-roll binoculars and “adopting” a local tree, are detailed and easy to follow. Lyrics for a tree-themed song (set to a familiar tune) are included as are links to recordings on a companion website. Appendices provide additional detail in several areas, including how to adapt lessons for different learning styles and abilities and how to connect them to STEM skills and careers. Overall, the book does a good job of making trees relevant to children, encouraging them to learn about the natural world and guiding them through the process. It also offers a variety of engaging low-tech activities in an appealing way.

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