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Be prepared. Read through the entire description of the activity before you begin, to ensure that you are prepared. I cannot emphasize this point enough. Pay close attention to the materials list, procedure, and tips before beginning. This will ensure that you have what you need and have a sense of how the activity is going to work before you proceed. Use your best judgment about when to step in and provide guidance. Almost every step of every activity can be done by children. However, adult guidance is required for some steps, such as using hot glue guns. Read through the activity thoroughly, and take the precautions necessary to protect the children with whom you work. Something that seems risky to one teacher or student might not be so for another. For ex- ample, some children are extremely careful with scis- sors whereas others are not and need to be super­vised. Use your best judgment for your individual situation. Take necessary precautions. For activities that require painting, gluing, or other messy work, take necessary precautions to protect children’s safety, clothing, and workspace. Basic items such as smocks, floor and table coverings, and wet paper towels are not listed in the materials/supplies section of each activity. Obviously different children and educators have different tolerance levels for mess and kines- thetic sensory input (messy hands!). I am assuming that you will address your own needs and those of the children in your care as you typically would. Many of the activities involve small objects. Super­vise children closely when small objects are involved to prevent accidental ingestion or “hiding” beads, buttons, and so on in ears and noses! Certain activities also involve food items, some of which may provoke reactions in children with aller- gies. Please be aware of all allergies or other health concerns of children in your care, and adapt activi- ties or otherwise take precautions to ensure children’s safety when dealing with any activity that includes potentially allergenic foods or substances. Practice sensitivity. Respect children’s cultural heritage, especially with regard to food and animals. 8  Chapter 1 While most cultures share the same overall values be- hind environmental education, cultures differ when it comes to some views about food and animals. For example, some ethnic groups fear certain animals whereas others revere them. Others may hold certain foods in very high regard, and using those foods as art materials may be seen as disrespectful and make the children uncomfortable. Learn as much as you can about the children and families in your program and their religious and cultural beliefs around food, animals, and nature before you begin, and then be sensitive to any differences. Of course, avoid singling out any child or family by calling undue attention to those differences. If an activity includes materials, ac- tions, or images that might make a child or family un- comfortable, use alternate materials with everyone or choose a different activity. Be as inclusive as possible. Reuse materials whenever possible. Many activi- ties include suggestions for reusing specific items that work particularly well for the purposes of the activity (for example, empty milk cartons work great for small plant pots). But don’t stop there. Look around your room. What can be reused? As an educa- tor, you’re probably already well-versed at stretching those budget dollars by reusing everyday materials. Chapter 9 provides specific ideas for identifying other useful disposable items and ways to reuse them. Allow plenty of time. Introducing a topic, doing a quick activity, and moving on to a completely dif- ferent activity the next day can squelch burgeon- ing interest in young scientists and stewards. Allow time for the children to really immerse themselves in their experience of creating art, exploring water and weather, and enjoying quiet (or loud!) time mak- ing discoveries. Repeat an activity day after day, if it’s what the group wants to do. You may make new discoveries each time! Learning happens when infor- mation is synthesized through reflection. Reflection happens only when there is time allowed for it. Prioritize experience over information. There is so much information to share, particularly in environ- mental education, and educators often have a strong