Flanders Gets Ready To Host First NGSS Classes
A new educational experience is coming to Flanders this spring. We’ve developed a new collection of field trip experiences for grades K-5 to complement the Next Generation Science Standards. Find out how our carefully aligned programming seizes upon the abundant phenomena and unique natural resources at Flanders, as we begin to partner with regional school systems.
By dramatically changing the way science is taught and learned, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) curriculum, which were adopted by Connecticut schools in November 2015, are designed to raise interest, participation levels and achievement for all students. Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust felt the state’s adoption of NGSS was a great opportunity to strengthen its own relationship with the school districts around the Litchfield Hills including in Waterbury.
In 2018, we set out to develop a new portfolio of field trip experiences to complement the NGSS in elementary school grade levels. This spring, the plan will be implemented when we begin working with Students from grades K – 5 and partnering with schools from throughout the region.
“We’ve always been doing field trips but it’s not the most effective way of learning or teaching,” said Flanders Executive Director Arthur Milnor. “What we’re getting into is changing our curriculum to match the state mandated NGSS curriculum that schools across the country are required to implement.
To accomplish this, Flanders hired Eileen Reed, a retired science teacher who was the chair of the science department at New Milford High School. Reed has an in-depth understanding of building and implementing science curriculums, and has been a valuable collaborator with our existing teaching staff.
“For me, it seemed like a comfortable fit,” Eileen says. “I live up the road and have been coming here for 30 years and recently started volunteering at Flanders.” As a science teacher, Eileen was already familiar with the NGSS curriculum. She worked with our staff teachers to basically create a whole new curriculum for these standards. “We’re taking what the kids are learning in school and bringing them out to Flanders into an authentic environment where learning takes place through hands on, out in nature experiences,” Eileen says.