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Welcome to Harrington's Big Backyard
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The Harrington Big Backyard Program is a series of nature walks on Harrington School property and adjacent lands that enhances the existing science and social studies curriculm in each grade. These walks were designed specifically for Harrington by naturalist Bev Morrison in conjunction with Fran Ludwig, retired Science Coordinator, and in collaboration with classroom teachers.

The program relies on parent volunteers to lead small groups of 4 to 6 students on walks outdoors during the year. At Harrington, Big Backyard Parent Volunteers organize the class walks for the year. Each walk is held during school hours and takes approximately 30-45 minutes. Big Backyard walks are great fun and provide a way for parents to support the classroom teachers and also interact with their own children. video camera Watch an overview of the program here .

Volunteer here No previous experience is necessary! First time parents are always welcome.

The Walks

The Big backyard introduces each child to many aspects of the natural world while also enhancing skills of observation, asking good questions and proposing possible answers. Respect for the natural environment is emphasized throughout the program. Classes will explore fields, woods and other habitats on Harrington School property. There are several walks scheduled throughout the year to observe seasonal changes and their affects on plants and animals.

Children participating in the Big backyard walks must have a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian. Forms must be submitted to the Harrington office at the beginning of the school year.


Each grade has specifically designed walks tailored to their curriculum. Parent volunteers are instructed on how to lead each specific walk with the help of written guides and walk-through training. The program here at Harrington is supported by the Harrington PTA and organized by Harrington's Big Backyard Committee . The committee is made up entirely of parent volunteers. Walks are scheduled based on the availabiliy of the classroom teacher and the parent volunteers.

Basic training - Optional

At the beginning of the school year, usually September, a general 2 hour Town wide training session is given for parent volunteers new to the program. This Basic Training includes a discussion of the basic principles of environmental science plus an introduction to the philosophy and essential activities of the Big Backyard nature study program. Participants need only bring curiosity, an appreciation for the natural world, and a desire to help children learn about the way the world works. General training is repeated in a morning and evening session. This basic training is optional.
Harrington will hold its own pre-walk trainings before each walk on site.
video camera Missed the basic training? View it here.

The Next Training Sessions are:

Date:    Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Time:    7:00-9:00 p.m.
Location:    Central Office Building,(Old Harrington Building),
Room 2 (downstairs conference room) at 146 Maple Street
Date:    Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Time:    9:30-11:30 a.m.
Location:    Central Office Building,(Old Harrington Building),
Room 2 (downstairs conference room) at 146 Maple Street

Please contact Karen McCarthy, K-5 Science Coordinator, with any questions regarding the training.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.