Little Adventures Big Connections: The Wolves are Coming, February 27 & 28


Jared Goodykoontz, one of our amazing Pre-K teachers here at LDBB has two grand passions: one is teaching, the other is nature. Luckily for us, he's found a way to combine the two.

Jared grew up loving animals and, as a child, had a massive book collection about exotic creatures like whales and tigers. He didn't give much thought to Ohio animals, which were, in his words "ordinary and boring." Not, that is, until he read a book by renowned naturalist Carl Safina. In Beyond Words, Safina wrote about animal intelligence and emotions, which got Jared to thinking more about animals as beings. He read hundreds of books and articles about animal emotions, connections with animals, and conservation efforts, and eventually got plugged into programs like Green Spot Columbus and the Sierra Club.

When Jared began teaching at LDBB in 2013, he launched a nature program for us that we call "Little Adventures, Big Connections" (LABC) in 2017. Inspired in part by the books What a Robin Knows by Jon Young and Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv, Jared wanted to enable kids to get out and gain all of the benefits—mental, physical and spiritual—that come from connecting to the outdoors. Using Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature as his template, Jared categorized elements of nature—trees, birds, hazards, etc.—into units. His weekly LABC classes help kids explore nature and come to their own conclusions, thereby helping them develop critical thinking and problem skills. Children learn skills like "silent fox walking" and "deer ears", skills they can take with them to LABC's outdoor adventures at Batelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Once a month on a Saturday, pre-K students and their families are invited to meet at the park to get out and explore, identify tracks, search for bones, look for birds and animals, and discover together. You can learn more on our facebook page.

During the month of February, LABC will be talking about Ohio's heritage and the animals that used to live here.  Jared has arranged to have ambassador wolves from Ironwood Wolves in Columbus visit all three of our centers to teach our children that wolves are not the evil creatures depicted in movies and fairy tales, but are actually beneficial beings that bring tremendous value to the world. Of course, we're putting safety first, so the wolves will be kept at a safe distance and there will be no petting. But you don't need to worry; all of the visiting wolves have been raised by human parents since they were cubs and are not dangerous.

And if you'd like to do a little bit more reading about Nature and our relationship to it, here's a short list of books recommended by Jared Goodykoontz:

Books for Children:

Any book
by Jim Arnosky (especially his Crinkleroot series)

Things to Do
by Elaine Magliaro

Little Tree
by Loren Long 

Owl Moon
by Jane Yolen

Animals Do, Too!
by Etta Kaner

Books for Grownups:

Last Child in the Woods
by Richard Louv

What A Robin Knows
by Jon Young

Beyond Words
by Carl Safina

Vitamin N
by Richard Louv 

The Hidden Life of Trees
by Peter Wohlleben

Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature
by Jon Young

The schedule for
our Ironwood Wolves visit:

Grandview Ave.
Tuesday, February 27
3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

5th Ave.
Wednesday, February 28
3:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Short North
Wednesday, February 28
9:30 to10:00 a.m.

Discover more about our classroom curriculum: