Growing Up WILD is...

A national program. The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies produces Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children and works with partners across the country to distribute these materials to educators. Professionals at fish and wildlife agencies, zoos and aquaria, nature centers, universities, departments of education, municipal parks, museums, and a variety of other organizations offer training in the materials. The Association ensures the materials are up-to-date and correlated to national standards and provides for evaluation of the program.

Professional development for educators. Educators can obtain a copy of Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children by attending a professional development training that is typically 3-6 hours. Participants experience activities from the guide and learn about the resources in the book and how they can implement the activities in their setting. To attend a training in your state, contact your state coordinator or training partner today. Cost to attend a training typically ranges from $0-$40 but may be more than that depending on what is included.

Environmental education for early childhood. Educators who have been trained in Growing Up WILD are ready to lead learners in a host of experiences both indoors and out that help young children explore the world around them. Whether observing differences in the shapes, colors, and textures of leaves; playing a version of “hide and seek” to learn about camouflage; or sorting pictures of animals to learn the difference between wild and tame animals, children who experience Growing Up WILD activities develop skills in a variety of disciplines, all through the lens of the natural world. Each activity is correlated to the Head Start Outcomes and National Association of Education for Young Children Accreditation Criteria.  

A curriculum & activity guide. Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children features 27 field-tested, hands-on, nature-based, ready-made thematic units and over 400 experiences in a full-color activity guide. Written especially for early childhood educators of children ages 3-7, the activity guide includes outdoor explorations, scientific inquiry, art projects, music and movement, conservation activities, reading and math connections and "Healthy Me" extensions. Social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive domains help foster learning and development in all areas. Developmentally appropriate practice allows children to learn at levels that are individually, socially, and culturally appropriate. Click here to see a sample activity.