My 17 year old daughter just returned from a 10 day trip to China. I think she returned as a 20 year old, at least from my view. I sent a child and she returned a mature young woman. I'm in a nostalgic mood because of this realization. One of my favorite memories is of my curious, inventive daughter as a 6 year old, donning her safety goggles, asking for a hammer, and smashing rocks to find out what is inside. I believe she learned a lot more than what was inside the rocks. She learned to be the facilitator in her own growth...a lesson she will use throughout her years.
I approach teaching this way. I believe children learn a lot more when they are invested in their learning. I love to watch their inquisitive nature and provide the materials for investigation. Our science explorations right now are centered around the importance of logs to the forest ecosystem. My favorite book to introduce this topic is The Log Hotel by Anne Schreiber. I bring several logs that are at different stages of decomposition into the classroom. I provide some magnifying glassess, pencils and notebooks for drawing what we see, books, and let the kids go! Here's a great link to exploring logs with kids. http://www.learnoutside.org/images/PLT_Activity_23_The_Fallen_Log_Secure.pdf