7 Connection Gateways pedagogy
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Why did you create this innovation?
As a result of changes to our way of life, children’s relationship with nature is now based on a range of emotions, from total ignorance to deep distress, and the belief that any contact could be harmful to themselves… and to nature! We have designed a practical pedagogy to repair children’s altered connection with nature, while taking into account the reality of their lived experience.
How does your innovation work in practice?
The 7 connection gateways © is a pedagogy based on education WITH nature. The 7 connection gateways are paths we take to create a connection between the interior world of the child and their spheres of interest, and nature.
This outdoor teaching pedagogy uses different access points to meet the child’s initial affinity and to gently reduce their reluctance to spend time in nature. Each of these gateways leads the child to explore and then to wonder at nature.
Students can expand their horizons and interests towards the other gateways, gradually connecting in a deep and lasting way with the living world.
Between them, these 7 connection gateways take account of the curriculum, talents and know-how of most teachers and educators. They therefore provide a zone of proximal development for introducing children to nature.
The pedagogy leads experienced teachers and educators to extend and consolidate their outdoor education, their impact and their own connection to nature.
How has it been spreading?
Through our programmes, especially those conducted for international primary schools, we have gained over 1100 hours of child-nature connection. Through the 7 Connection Gateways Pedagogy, students have learned life skills, as well as academic concepts in math, science, language, art... What they learned from nature, about concepts such as waves, colours, measurement, balance... remained engraved in their heads.
More than that, we have been able to witness first hand the growing desire of teachers to educate with nature, but also their constraints to do so themselves.
After a successful pilot to train educators in a French institution, the pedagogy is now being taught to educators and teachers in primary schools in Europe, with the support of a strong growing community.
If I want to try it, what should I do?
For teachers in primary schools and educators, who want to:
- develop a deep connection between children and the living world
- enrich their pedagogical approach with real-world, inquiry-based learning
- meet their programme expectations, with nature-based teaching
- match the PYP / IB curriculum expectations
- give meaning to incentives for pro-environmental actions