A Calm Outdoor Classroom

Heather Fox, Education Specialist, Dimensions Educational Research Foundation

Working with children requires great reserves of strength and patience. In her book, Heart- Centered Teaching Inspired by Nature, Nancy Rosenow recognizes this and invites caregivers, teachers and parents to use nature and self-reflection to help build these reserves. Below is a wonderful example from one of our Certified Nature Explore Classrooms of how this can be achieved in your own outdoor classroom.

“The outdoor space is not only beneficial to children, but as a child care provider it helps me meditate and gain spiritual development. I feel rejuvenated whether it is from the water trickling down the rocks, children’s laughter or harmonious sounds of chimes,” describes Corinne Carr, owner of Special Blessings Child Care, a Certified Nature Explore Classroom in Emporia, KS.

Carr’s peaceful outdoor classroom includes a variety of experiences for children to choose from such as gardening, music making and digging in the dirt. Known for their therapeutic qualities, it is no wonder both children and adults benefit from actively engaging in the space. Adding to the serenity, describes Carr, is their locally designed water feature. It is a place children naturally gravitate to, spending time playing and studying water’s calming properties. (See photo)

Nature’s soothing qualities combined with open-ended natural materials to explore will prove time and time again to benefit both adults and children. Carr’s comment made me wonder, how can we better utilize our outdoor classrooms for meditation and relaxation?