© 2003 Merry L. Morris

Everything Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Need to Know To Do Well in School
They Can Learn at the Zoo
(Class One: How to talk to your infant, toddler, or preschooler while visitng the zoo)


  • Parents of babies and very young children will think of zoos as a place to visit often to help their children learn.
  • Parents of infants, toddlers, and preschool children will visit the zoo with their children often (and will want to purchase zoo memberships to make frequent zoo visits affordable.).
  • Infants, toddlers, and preschool children will learn.
  • Preschool children will love to visit zoos.

Class Outline

    *************** Introductions (15 min.) ***************

    Parents introduce themselves and tell the names and ages of their preschool children.

    *************** Section One (30 min.) ***************

    Parents focus attention on preschool learning.

    • Parents discuss how infants and toddlers learn.
      • hearing parents talk
      • watching parents
    • Parents discuss how three and four-year olds learn.
      • hearing parents talk
      • watching parents
      • imitating parents
    • Parents discuss what very young children can learn by listening to parents, watching parents and imitating parents during frequent trips to the zoo.
      • names for animals
      • names of buildings
      • names of jobs
      • the alphabet
      • how letters of the alphabet are put together to form words
      • concepts like color, shape and size
      • counting
      • how and why people read signs
      • how people use comparing and contrasting to describe what they see, hear, taste, and smell
      • how people ask questions to find answers
      • how and why people add, subtract, multiply and divide
      • and more!

    *************** Section Two (90 min.) ***************

    Parents learn how to talk and what to say to infants, toddlers, and preschool children while visiting the zoo.

    • Class instructor lists and explains essential points of talking in ways that will help preschool children learn.
      • Don't "talk down".
      • Repeat, repeat, repeat.
      • Read, rephrase, paraphrase, and reword.
    • Class instructor shows photos of exhibits with examples of what to say while talking about the animals.
      • What are the animals called?
      • What color are the animals?
      • Are the animals covered with fur or scales?
      • Are the animals big or small?
      • What are the animals eating?
      • What other animals are they similar to?
    • Class instructor takes class to several exhibits and, at each exhibit talks to the class as if she were a parent talking to a child while viewing that exhibit.
    • Class instructor asks one or two parents to volunteer to talk as they would to their child at an exhibit.

    ************** Coffee Break (45 min.) ***************

    *************** Section Three (60 min.) ***************

    Parents practice teaching techniques.

    • Parents choose an exhibit to focus on. (The selection can be made from slides or photos shown in the classroom.)
    • Parents write a scenario that includes what they would say to a child based on that exhibit.
    • Parents read their scenarios to the class.
    • Parents offer suggestions to each other to make their teaching scenarios more effective.

      Class instructor encourages parents to purchase family memberships and bring their children to the zoo often.

    See also Class Two: When Your Child is Ready ...
If you develop a class based on this outline for your zoo, please let me know and credit me as the originator of the idea. -- Merry L. Morris
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