Preschool Outreach

Department

Point of Contact

Cheryl Potemkin

Early Childhood Program Manager

Bella, Books, and Botany - Virtual Program for Fall 2020

Bella, Books, and Botany is an early childhood educational outreach opportunity offered by BRIT to preschool classes. This unique program utilizes quality children’s literature, nature, and Environmental-STEM (E-STEM). Early childhood educators have the opportunity to promote scientific thinking and practice literacy, math, and creative art skills with their students. Our main components and teaching strategies are based on current research and best practices that can be applied to any early childhood curriculum. Our hope is to inspire your teachers’ sense of wonder along with your students’ and take advantage of nature’s benefits when teaching the critical domains.

With each seasonal unit (3 months) purchased, the classroom receives:

  • Three specially chosen books to tie popular children's literature to science learning
  • Three virtual live visits - one per month - from the Bella the Begonia puppet (along with her friend) to lead an outdoor exploration and scientific conversation
  • Curriculum support documents and videos filled with pre- and post- activity ideas for your classroom that connect to the literature

Based on current research in best practices, Bella’s Building Blocks for Learning; Story Time, Purposeful Play, Exploration and Discovery, and Reflective Conversation are the teaching strategies implemented in all of BRIT’s early learning programs and can be applied to any early childhood curriculum.

This program has four critical components to ensure its success:

  • Pre-Outdoor Lessons -  Activities that give the program “roots” to lay the foundation for an outdoor exploration.
  • Outdoor Exploration Day– Activities that demonstrate best practices in outdoor learning environments.
  • Post-Outdoor Lessons – Activities that give the program “wings” to allow repeated opportunities for your students to practice science inquiry and deepen knowledge and skills.
  • A Co-Learner Mindset – Research shows that young children learn best when accompanied by a caring adult partner that guides their explorations, play, and conversations. So the activities encourage and give rise to “talk that teaches” and opportunities to grow critical thinking skills.

The curriculum support is flexible, user-friendly, and is aligned with the Texas Pre-Kindergarten Science guidelines. It is a menu from which to choose the best activities and strategies that are appropriate for your students and your available resources. It can help you weave STEM concepts and content into your existing curriculum and lesson plans for all the critical domains.

Contact Cheryl Potemkin to discuss bringing this new virtual program to your class!