Community Connection


Full STEAM Ahead in The Outdoor Classroom (Part 2)

Education in STEAM subjects, through routes of either abstract-to-concrete (A to C) learning, or concrete-to-abstract (C to A) learning, can take place indoors or out. In A to C learning the concepts are reviewed before the activities illustrating them are performed. In C to A learning the activities come before discovering the academic concepts behind…
Read More



Natural Wood: Lessons and Gifts

“It’s all trying to turn back to dirt you know.” I remember hearing this as a young boy regarding wood used outdoors. In many ways wood is the optimal material to use in an outdoor classroom because of its beautiful natural qualities and versatility. Wood creates countless learning opportunities for children but it also comes…
Read More



Full STEAM Ahead in The Outdoor Classroom (Part 1)

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) education, a national priority, informs school curricula at all grade levels. Often, this teaching/learning moves from the abstract to the concrete (A to C). For example, children could learn a simplified definition of ‘classification’ before using materials or images in lesson exercises designed to demonstrate the concept. Understanding…
Read More



Religious Spirituality Made Visible Through Nature

Some faith-based schools have found their Nature Explore Classroom to be an excellent environment for exploring religious values and traditions. In the Nursery School at Temple Shalom in Newton, Massachusetts, teachers and children make Jewish spirituality visible through projects in the outdoor classroom, and indoors. Although the projects are based on Jewish traditions, the values…
Read More



Keeping it Real

“We feel that our children get plenty of opportunities for virtual screen time outside of our school. Here, we focus on giving them real experiences; with real materials, real people, real ideas and real places.” —Chris Whitmire    The Early Learning Center (ELC) of the Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana is a progressive, Christian…
Read More



The Generation Whisperer

Chris Whitmire calls herself “old-school,” and thinks in terms of generations. Although her childhood was infused with nature, she thinks the “ideal” time to have been born was in the 1950s, half a generation before her own birth. She believes those to have been the golden years for children connecting with nature. Rural and suburban…
Read More



The Research Keeps Rolling In: Child-Initiated Learning in Nature Yields Remarkable Benefits

This is the final post in a series of “Roots in Research” blogs, in which we summarize key findings of research conducted by Nature Explore staff and our colleagues at other institutions.   As we conclude our series on Nature Explore’s “Roots in Research,” we look at another study—this one conducted at a Nature Explore…
Read More



Nuggets from 2016 (Part 3)

This post begins where the last one left off, completing our review of nuggets from the past year.   ExpERIEnce is Key By Heather Fox Ainslie Brosig, Executive Director of the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum in Erie, Pennsylvania describes herself as a person who does not like to get dirty; a person who tries to “contain…
Read More



Nuggets from 2016 (Part 2)

This is the second post in our series reviewing blog posts from the past year.   Cultivate the Resiliency in Every Child By Dexter Lane  Children in outdoor classrooms have many opportunities to test themselves across varying environments. They may test themselves in activities (such as jumping off rocks) at increasingly challenging levels of difficulty. Through…
Read More



Nuggets from 2016 (Part 1)

Each year, nuggets of information fly by in our blog posts. Some are practical tips on using your outdoor classroom. Some are inspirational examples of how other educators use theirs, or of children’s transformations in nature. In reviewing the posts from 2016, we’ll look at some of the nuggets, the practical or inspirational ideas that…
Read More