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Check out our first press release highlighting the incredible Four Winds program!

Ending of Bristol Elementary School’s Four Winds Program Likely

Bristol, Vermont/USA – April 10, 2012- When you mention Four Winds to a child at Bristol Elementary their face lights up and they begin to talk excitedly about classroom experiments like discovering how water drops form on a penny and how a paperclip can float on the top of water. Stay longer and they will talk about outdoor nature walks, picking up bugs and learning why trees shed their leaves in the fall and how squirrels build their nests. Talk to a parent and they will tell you how much their child looks forward to the Four Winds program every month and how much of the evening meal conversation centers around the new things they learned that day. Talk to a volunteer, and they will tell you how fulfilling and fun it is to spend time in their child’s classroom while helping build a lifelong love of nature and science for their child and their peers.

Given all these amazing benefits, why would the Four Winds program potentially be ending in Bristol? “The problem is a shortage of in-class volunteers,” states Carolyn Knight, current program coordinator and long-time volunteer. “Everyone loves the program but we are having a hard time getting the community volunteers we need to keep the program going.” Approximately 34 volunteers are needed in order for every class at BES to have the program. But even if every class couldn’t have the program we would still need at least 24 volunteers to even be able to continue. Currently we have 8 regulars”, continues Knight.

“Parents are very busy and often feel like they may not be able to commit to the 2 hours of training a month and the 2 hours of teaching in the classrooms,” comments Porter Knight, another parent volunteer “But I have been doing this for years and it’s actually very easy and so fulfilling! The pride your child has when you are in front of their class is truly priceless and the exposure you are giving the children to science and nature are just not duplicated anywhere else in Elementary school.”

“There are so many reasons why the Four Winds Program is such an important part of our school community”, states BES Principal, Catrina DiNapoli, “The lessons and activities are of high quality, the volunteers are well trained in the content and the experience is hands-on fun!  Teachers love the opportunity to be learning beside their students while the volunteers take over, which gives them a chance to prompt and guide the kids and be a learner themselves!  The program is a strong component of our science curriculum, addresses standards and complements our units very nicely.”

If you are interested in becoming an in-class volunteer, please contact the current program coordinator, Carolyn Knight at 453-7166.

About Four Winds Nature Institute:

Founded in 2006, Four Winds Nature Institute is a non-profit organization advancing the understanding, appreciation and protection of the environment through community-based natural science education. Four Winds strives to improve the quality of education by providing children with meaningful opportunities to explore the natural world in their own schoolyard and neighborhood. Four Winds programs strengthen communities by bringing people together each month to learn and connect.

Four Winds offers natural science programs that help children and adults gain the background knowledge and science skills needed to understand the world around them. Four Winds' programs involve each learner in exploring and investigating the local environment, making observations, asking questions, searching for answers, and making their own discoveries.


About BES Parent Advisory:

The Parent Advisory Team is a group of BES parents who meet monthly to discuss topics related to the mission and vision of Bristol Elementary School.  Our primary focus is to strengthen communication in and around our school community, support the work of the school and contribute to a positive learning environment. 


Sheri Bannister

5 Mountain St.

Bristol, VT 05443

p. (404) 822-4862

f. 310.893.6761