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Natalie Shikoski

Natalie ShikoskiMy name is Natalie Shikoski and I have been teaching in Green Bay for 10 years. I studied at Marian University, and I taught at St. Bernard Catholic School, Chappell Elementary school, and Altmayer Elementary.

In the 2018-19 school year I started teaching at Oak Learning Center, the nature-based 4K at the Wildlife Sanctuary. My favorite thing about teaching at Oak is being outside with the students; every day is an adventure! We spend up to 80% of our day outside with a naturalist. As we are exploring, the naturalist educates us on plants and animals we discover. The students are engaged with the natural world and learn to care deeply about and take care of the Earth. Literacy, math, and social/emotional skills are woven into our day with Creative Curriculum in alignment with Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards.

Research shows that nature-based education benefits children in many ways: Children develop great cognitive skills because of the heightened awareness and focus of being in nature. Physical skills grow as well; students can take risks (safely) by climbing and jumping off rocks and trees. Social/emotional skills grow as the students develop empathy for animals, which in turn leads to empathy toward people. The best part is that our students (and teachers) are full of wonder and excitement about learning outside! 

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Tim Drankus

Tim DrankusMy name is Tim Drankus and I've studied at the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh and the UWGB - Sheboygan campus. I've taught in the Sheboygan Area School District, Hortonville Area School District and the Winneconne Community School District. I am a married father of two young children. My wife and I are both 4K teachers and have a passion for working with kids. I am so happy to a part of such a great school like Oak Learning Center. I remember when the school first opened and I thought to myself, “Now that’s a school I would love to teach at.” Little did I know I would be lucky enough to get that opportunity 6 years later.

I have always been an outdoor person and understand the importance of learning from what nature has to offer us. What I find unique about Oak is that the students are allowed to be kids in its raw form. At the age of 4 years old it is so important to allow students to learn through exploration & play. I love that we are outside 80% of the day learning through nature. We are able to use natural objects to teach all subjects. We do still use produced products to enhance learning but much of what we do involves teaching through nature.

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