Nurture thru Nature’s (NtN) philosophy is captured in the program’s name. We believe that young students can best learn and understand science through close contact and interaction with the nature world.
We designed the Nurture thru Nature program as a vehicle capable of transporting young students into the world of exploration, excitement and wonders that we experienced growing up as elementary school children. This world was not very big—extending through the immediate neighborhood and on occasion reaching across town to a grandparent’s or relative’s home and garden. Though small in size our neighborhood was not puny in opportunities for adventure—colorful birds and butterflies that needed to be identified; fruits, berries and strange vegetables that merited tasting; dangerous looking snakes, frogs, and insects that had to be touched; fish requiring catching and flowers that enticed through their scent and beauty. Our explorations moreover found us continually bumping up against many of the principles of natural and physical science: e.g., photosynthesis, animal migration, natural selection, habitat change and adaptation, health and disease. We believe that the journey into our natural world needs to begin at a young age and that it must be supported by teachers and parents in the classroom at home.
Unfortunately in many of our urban neighborhoods, inadequate city resources, unsafe streets and overwhelmed teachers and parents have resulted in barriers to exploration and the dimming of excitement. NtN is intended to increase the adventure that is natural science through a curriculum and faculty that emphasize hands on student learning and through a set of principles that support teachers, and neighborhood residents in their efforts to make the love of nature an everyday experience. Our rigorous evaluation methods, moreover, are designed to ensure that NtN demonstrates measurable improvements in student’s math, science and language arts skills and classroom grades.
Thomas Wolfe, an American novelist of some note, declares, “You can’t go home again…you can’t go home to the escape of time and memory.” At NtN we go home again often—not to escape, but to open pathways to a future of excitement and achievement.
Michael J. Camasso, Ph.D. Radha Jagannathan, Ph.D.