Growing out of a longstanding commitment to sharing knowledge about the natural world, the Arnold Arboretum’s educational programming for children began in the 1980s with the introduction of field study opportunities in the historical landscape. While this programming continues to thrive today, the Arboretum’s Boston Teachers Union School collaboration is designed to provide science instruction as an integral part of student learning throughout the school year. Funded through the generous support of a private donor, the program includes lessons on plant and animal life but also nurtures a broader understanding of science in general, intending to spark curiosity through thought-provoking activities that promote observation, reasoning, and language skills.

Collaborating with the BTU School has opened avenues of discovery for both students and their instructors, and both teachers and parents have noticed a spike in the children’s enthusiasm for learning science. In addition to engaging students in the classroom, the Arboretum hosted the students for field studies in the landscape, creating opportunities for students to expand on their indoor experiments through an exploration of the Arboretum’s living collection of plants. Some of the students will learn elementary botany by growing plants in their classrooms this spring, and all will return to the landscape when the weather warms to continue to learn about science in the field. Whether in the classroom or on the Arboretum grounds, students and educators both look forward to the continued flowering of this unique educational partnership.

Learn more about the Boston Teachers Union School and its partnership with the Arnold Arboretum.

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