The School of Education at SUNY New Paltz is proving that some of the best teaching and learning occurs outside the classroom.
This spring, students and faculty continued an ongoing partnership with Phillies Bridge Farm in New Paltz to provide a “STEAM Club” event series for children this spring, inviting kids in kindergarten through 6th grade to get in on some interactive, outdoor learning in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.
These annual STEAM Clubs for kids are part of the School of Education’s rich legacy of finding new ways to connect future teachers with families in the New Paltz Central School District.
The after-school program ran from March 21 – May 4, 2022, with kids playing on the farm one minute, moving on to mapmaking and math lessons next, and finding time for arts and crafts projects, too.
“It’s completely different than the traditional classroom,” said Chelsea Dunderdale ’23 (Childhood Education) of Newburgh, New York. “We get to look at nature and animals and the kids seem to love it.”
“The fact that there’s a nature aspect, it allows us to help the children get active while learning,” added Mya Millan ’23 (Early Childhood & Childhood Education) of Brewster, New York.
The program has benefits for New Paltz students, too, as they get to try new approaches to teaching in a unique setting.
“I have enjoyed watching the college students plan and work through any issues or successes,” said Michelle Pink, who helps oversee the fieldwork experience. “They are gaining behavior management, lesson implementation and assessment experience, which are all vital in teaching. Additionally, the elementary students are enjoying the activities and experiences.”