Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Preschool Educational Program for The Watermen's Museum

Girl Scout Ambassador Evelyn from Yorktown has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting. For her project, Evelyn developed an educational program to prepare preschoolers for a field trip to The Watermen’s Museum. Each year, the students from Chestnut Memorial Preschool take a field trip to the museum, but the students were unprepared for the amount of information they’d be learning in once day. To address this issue, Evelyn developed hands-on educational activities to engage the children in information about the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay before heading to The Watermen’s Museum.

Before she started creating her program, Evelyn decided it would be a good idea to get experience working with preschoolers. She spent some time volunteering with young children at Vacation Bible School. She then spent time researching teaching styles and learning more about Chesapeake Bay wildlife.

With this experience and knowledge, Evelyn developed six activities to help prepare the children for their annual trip to the museum. Her activities included creating a habitat song to help the children learn about what is necessary for survival, teaching them about the parts of the blue crab, showing them how to identify the difference between clam and oyster shells and familiarizing the preschoolers with the map of the Chesapeake Bay. She also taught them about the animals that are native to the area and helped them compare and contrast the fish species in the bay.

Evelyn teaches preschoolers about the animals in the Chesapeake Bay
“I chose this project because I knew I could use my teaching and leadership skills to make a difference,” Evelyn said. “I was once a student at Chestnut Memorial Preschool, and I wanted to give back to the children who are students there today.”

One week after Evelyn’s final lesson with the preschoolers, they went to The Waterman’s Museum and had a fun day of learning and exploration. The teachers noted that that since the students were well-prepared and because of that, they gained a lot from their time there. The teachers plan to use Evelyn’s lesson plans to continue to prepare their students for this field trip in the future.

Evelyn and students from Chestnut Memorial Preschool look at fish from the
Chesapeake Bay during the school's annual field trip to The Watermen's Museum
The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Evelyn to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.