Community Connection


From Not Getting It, to Getting It

Sometimes people just don’t “get” Nature Explore Classrooms at first sight. That’s to be expected. Our society generally sees climbing structures, swings, monkey bars, etc., surrounded by a safety surface, as the standard outdoor environment designed for children: the “playground.” We in the Nature Explore family understand that traditional playgrounds actually separate and “protect” children…
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Storage: A Nature Explore Classroom Essential

This November, as the leaves fall and the winds whip through our Nature Explore Classroom at Southern Heights Food Forest, I can’t help but reflect on a year filled with growth, strength, connection to the land and storage, yes storage! Southern Heights Food Forest is a 2-acre space just south of Southern Heights Presbyterian Church…
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She’ll Find Her Own Grand Canyon

Few outdoor experiences for a child could be more majestic than to stand at the base of a Giant Redwood in California. Or to see the brilliant fall colors of New Hampshire and Maine. Or to experience the immense expanse of the Grand Canyon. Yet this is nature writ large; visual drama that excites us…
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Engaging Teachers as Co-Researchers: A Practice That Fosters Reflective Teaching

This is the sixth in a series of “Roots in Research” blog posts, in which we summarize key findings of research conducted by Nature Explore staff and our colleagues at other institutions.   “A very important piece of being a co-researcher is that it is a deeply reflective process. As we’re working with children, we’re…
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Children Lead a Teacher Back to Nature

At some point, Erin Borras simply drifted away from the comfort with nature she had enjoyed as a child. The youngest of four, she roamed trails behind her house, playing at streams, finding salamanders, and exploring comfortably in the woods with her sisters. “I could fearlessly go to the woods because I always had my…
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Kat Gets It

Last week we had a glimpse of how we can work with children outdoors, through the eyes of David and Frances Hawkins. An adult and a child are both interested in the subject of the child’s exploration. The adult has developed (or renewed) her ability to “mess about” playfully herself. The child has the freedom…
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Cultivating the Scientist in Every Child

Last week we discussed the vital importance of early, self-directed play to later learning and performance. We saw how Nolan Ryan transformed a childhood passion for throwing objects at targets into one of the top pitching careers in baseball history. Among applicants for NASA’s advanced engineering positions, those who had built things as children simply…
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Play Ball!

Nolan Ryan is one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. During his childhood he liked to throw objects at targets; not baseballs at gloves, just objects at targets. His father wanted him to be a bit more productive in his play, so at age nine Nolan joined a Little League team in Alvin, Texas….
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Engaging Parents in Children’s Outdoor Learning: A Win-Win Proposition

This is the fifth in a series of “Roots in Research” blog posts, in which we summarize key findings of research conducted by Nature Explore staff and our colleagues at other institutions.   Parents play a significant and positive role in thriving Nature Explore Classrooms across the country. From fundraising to classroom maintenance, volunteering and…
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This Medical Center Prescribes Nature, and Fills Prescriptions On-Site

We in the Nature Explore family don’t need a study to tell us that nature has many positive benefits for our physical, mental and spiritual health. We feel these benefits in ourselves, and see them in the children who play in our outdoor classrooms. Yet if nature is so good for our health, why aren’t…
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