Nature Education for Young Children:
The Nature Action Collaborative for Children (NeNACC)
Nebraska child and family-serving organizations and agencies are working together as a catalyst for change - to realize a vision that all young Nebraska children and their families will have daily opportunities to engage in the natural world. NeNACC embraces the mission of the World Forum's Nature Action Collaborative for Children: to re-connect children with the natural world by making developmentally appropriate nature education a sustaining and enriching part of the daily lives of the world's children.
The NeNACC leadership team members are collaborating to develop nature sites at early childhood programs (homes and centers) and schools and also supporting the use of developmentally appropriate activities and curriculum in these settings. They are promoting nature classrooms and public spaces that lend themselves to family engagement in nature experiences. Information resources are disseminated in support of this work. The team encourages interaction, creative thinking, and action among those who are dedicated to young children's lives and the responsible stewardship of the earth.
Goals of the NeNACC
- Promoting effective practices in nature education for infants, toddlers, pre-school, elementary children and their families/caregivers/teachers.
- Developing an interactive networking system to insure informational, fiscal and human resource alignment to support site implementation
- Facilitating the linking of stakeholders for the purpose of generating new in-sight and knowledge.
Highlights of the NeNACC
- The NeNACC partnered with the Nebraska Department of Education, the World Forum- Nature Action Collaborative for Children, and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education to issue, at the international 2008 Working Forum on Nature Education, Call to Action: Reconnecting the World's Children to Nature.
- NeNACC is also promoting Connecting Children to Nature, a supplement to the Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines. Suggestions for the environment, age-activities, and interaction are highlighted across seven domains of early learning.
- Websites are maintained by each of the leadership team partners to offer an array of practical ideas, professional development activities, the evidence about children and nature, and many other resources.
National Arbor Day Foundation
Dimensions Educational Research Foundation™
Nebraska Department of Education
Nebraska Early Childhood Training Center
Nebraska Association for the Education of Young Children
Nebraska Statewide Arboretum
History of NeNACC
This Nebraska network was initiated in 2006 in response to the Working Forum on Nature Education that was hosted in Nebraska at Arbor Day Farm. The leadership team was inspired to partner for action that would promote the reconnection of young children to their natural world. This work is being done through individual's volunteer efforts and strategies that attract funding of selected projects. The leadership team continues to explore how they can replicate and sustain the work throughout the state. The leadership team is considering how to effectively engage others in this Nebraska collaborative.
For further information on nature education, contact Mary Beth Pistillo, training coordinator at the Early Childhood Training Center.