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Teachers encouraged to order free materials

[JULY 12, 2005]  SPRINGFIELD -- Teaching young children about Illinois' natural resources is a vital task if they are to be successful stewards of our natural resources in the future. Learners at the preschool level are eager to discover the world around them. To assist with education at the preschool level and with Head Start programs, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Division of Education, recently mailed sample items and information about the availability of free teaching tools to more than 2,500 preschool and Head Start teachers in the state.

"Our initiative to reach preschool and Head Start teachers in Illinois supports Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's success in providing funding to give 25,000 more children in Illinois access to preschool programs," said Jeff Vose, administrator of the IDNR Division of Education. Illinois has increased preschool funding by $90 million -- or 50 percent -- during the first three years of the Blagojevich administration.

The posters, activity books, activity sheets and CD-ROMs produced by the IDNR Division of Education are developed using the Illinois Learning Standards of the Illinois State Board of Education as their foundation. These supplemental items are designed to be used to supplement existing curricula. They provide information and activities on a variety of topics related to natural resources. Spanish-language versions of the activity books are also available.

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"When it comes to educating children, the experts all agree that preschool is the single best investment that a state can make," Gov. Blagojevich recently stated.

"Investing in Illinois means investing in our families and in our children," said Maria Whelan, president of Action for Children, one of the leading organizations in the Early Learning Illinois campaign. "We applaud the governor for having the vision to recognize this."

To order materials from the IDNR Division of Education, you may use the online order form. Go to, then click on the "Education" button in the right sidebar. On the next page, you'll find the link to the online order form. [Or, click here to go directly to the education links.] For more information, contact the IDNR Division of Education at or (217) 524-4126.

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources news release]

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