By: Angy Talbot – ECFE Blog Writer
As I look outside and see my daughter playing, as a mother I am thankful that she has a place to discover with the grass beneath her feet and the sun shining on her face. There are many wonders of nature in our backyard, but I want to continue to give her more experiences with nature from camping adventures to walking in the woods. As I look out onto our Nature Classroom, as a teacher I am thankful that every child will have an opportunity in our program to explore the world outside a school building. The children play while absorbing and using each sense. From seeing an insect fly by and watching a flower grow, hearing the birds chirp and the sounds of the leaves moving in the wind, feeling the dirt on the ground or the rough grooves of bark from a tree on their fingertips, tasting a freshly picked tomato or a floating snow flake touching their tongue, smelling the lilac bush or the scent of a newly fallen pinecone, while being with the earth in outdoor life. The Nature Classroom is a whole body experience. When the children play in the sandbox, their entire body is emerged and they can use their arms and legs, besides their hands. In the Messy Materials Area, children are picking up logs and sticks building creations and using their imagination to construct life like forms big and small. The children explore without reservation and can touch and feel all that they see. In our Nature Classroom, children not only encounter what the physical world has to offer, they also experience activities that have been done traditionally inside, behind four walls. Many activities from reading, writing, science, math, and circle time can now be done outside. The children can play musical instruments, go on scavenger hunts, eat snack, or just relax and watch the clouds go by. From structured activities to children exploring on their own, there is no limitations to what can be done outside. What I take pleasure in most about the Nature Classroom is the freedom the children have. I no longer see the fear of bugs or worms. The children are excited when a little trespasser, such as a Ladybug is on their shirt or a worm has just come to the surface after a rain shower. In every season and any weather condition, the Nature Classroom brings about many opportunities for children to understand and gain knowledge of the great outdoors. To learn more about Outdoor Nature Explore Classrooms please go to:
What kinds of things do you like to do with your children outdoors? What experiences has your child had with the Nature Classroom?