Wonder & Grow

Unique class lets Beverly students explore nature

The Inter-Mountain photos by Brooke Binns Jaylea Herron, left, and Sophia Hornick gather pieces of nature they found to be beautiful or unique as part of their ‘Wonder and Grow’ lesson at Beverly Elementary School.

BEVERLY –A unique class introduced to a group of students in Randolph County has allowed them to explore nature and express their creativity in new ways.

Kate Reed and Valerie Warner have led a series of lessons at Beverly Elementary School this year with hopes of giving students “a sense of wonder,” Warner said.

“Our goal is to ignite the children’s sense of wonder and get them outside to connect with nature,” Warner said. “This will ultimately allow them to connect with their community and each other.

The class, called “Wonder and Grow” is geared toward students between the ages of 5-12.

Lucy Godwin, Beverly Elementary School teacher, said the program allowed her students to express themselves.

“Wonder and Grow has provided my students with an incredible opportunity to explore nature, engage in team building activities and express themselves creatively,” she said.

Fifth-graders Jaden and Jasmin Workman said they enjoyed building a fox den during one of their lessons.

“I liked when we built the fox den,” Jaden Workman said. “We used a tarp, sticks and bigger pieces of wood to pound the sticks down into the ground — we used them like hammers.”

“When we learned about habitats, the students made fox dens and other creations,” Warner explained.

“I also liked when we used jars to make snow globes,” Jaden Workman added.

The siblings went on to explain that they used items from nature such as pine cones, flowers and water to complete their globes. In addition to encouraging students to use their imaginations when exploring nature, Reed and Warner have incorporated yoga into their classes.

“We learned about different kinds of yoga poses when they visited,” Jasmin Workman said, noting this was something she enjoyed.

“Our goal in incorporating yoga is to show the students that anytime they feel stressed or angry, they can use these poses and take a deep breath to relax,” Warner said. “We’re trying to give them coping skills to deal with stress.”

Warner said that during their visits to the school, she and Reed gave lessons on things like habitats, water, air and the Earth.

“We gave a sink or swim activity during our water lesson where students used different nature items to see which ones would sink and which ones would stay afloat,” Warner said. “Each time we incorporated yoga and did a visualization in the beginning of the lesson to set our intentions for the day.”

Students also engaged in other activities, including using parts of nature such as water, soil, twigs, sand and pine cones to create something. During this lesson, students made various items including bricks, mud pies or milkshakes and even “mud men,” similar to snowmen.

At the close of each lesson, Reed would lead a visualization that encouraged students to use all of their senses.

“Each visualization had a theme– for example with water, we imagined walking through a forest and seeing a stream,” Warner said. “We use all of our sense to hear the stream bubbling, seeing it and putting your foot in to feel the cold water. We try to incorporate senses into everything that we do.”

Funding for Wonder and Grow lessons were made possible by a grant received from “Try This West Virginia.”