Missouri teachers prepare for next school year

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COLUMBIA - Missouri's Department of Conservation will host a workshop in Columbia to train teachers how to bring nature into the classroom Monday.

Kim Cole is the conservation education consultant for the Missouri Department of Conservation and said the "Nature Unfolds" workshop is a part of the Discover Nature Schools program.

"[The workshop is to] help them to get ideas and tips and be even more comfortable when they go outside with their students," Cole said. "We really want to promote outdoor learning. And there's there's lots of benefits for the kids. It helps with attention span and behaviors and testing scores."

The MDC will provide a conservation based curriculum unit for teachers at the workshop.

"We want to get the teacher set up so that they are able to have that knowledge, have those activities, and they can share that with their students and get them outside more," Cole said.

Cole said the MDC tries to host at least two workshops a year.

"Right now as the school year is wrapping up teachers, I think, are trying to get ideas for next year," Cole said. "And then we kind of get a push right toward the end of the fall when school is going to start in August. Teachers are getting back in the swing of "summer's over" and getting ready for class."

Cole said she will do some of the hands on activities with the teachers at the workshop to show them the set up, goals and objectives of the lessons.

"So when they teach them in the classroom they already have experience actually actually going through the activity," Cole said. "And also talk about some of the other resources that we provide as an agency. We have tons of free publications and posters."

The MDC also provides funding as a part of the Discover Nature Schools program.

"There's money to help teachers get supplies for the classroom and money to help them get the students to field trips, Cole said. "We provide transportation funding for that as well."

Cole said Columbia Public Schools encourages teachers to use this curriculum in their classroom.

"We provide the curriculum materials for free," Cole said. "So I think that really brings in a lot of teachers."

The MDC sends teachers home with materials, lessons and activities for the classroom.

"This is filled with activities and lessons and background information," Cole said. "This is just a comprehensive resource for the teachers."