Posts from December 2017


From Pigs to People: Socialization Skills Developed Naturally

New Zealand is where I finally caught up with Karen Lucy, Director of Early Childhood Education in the Shirlee Green preschool at the Jewish Congregation Shaare Emeth in St. Louis, Missouri. We were both there for the 2017 World Forum on Early Care and Education. Karen’s presentation on children and nature was low-tech, heartfelt, and…
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What A Nature Explore Classroom Says to a Child

What does a Nature Explore Classroom say to a child? A Nature Explore Classroom is nature arranged for children. The various activity areas and the overall designs draw investigations and expressions that are more varied than you’d find in an unstructured natural space. Loris Malaguzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy, said that children…
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Healing “Owies” at Warren Village

Blog originally posted on June 23, 2016 The other day I had the pleasure of visiting the Nature Explore Classrooms at the Warren Village Learning Center in Denver, Colorado, for the first time in almost a year. Separated by the main walkway to the school are two distinct spaces, one for infants and toddlers, the…
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The Caterpillar’s Gift

Johnny had trouble speaking, making very short sentences, even words. Three syllable words were a challenge. He was often frustrated by seeing the ease with which other children his age could make their needs known to adults. And he saw this all day, every day. Johnny had the same wants and needs that the other…
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A Life-Saving Transformation: Mark’s Story

Blog originally posted on Jan 27,2015   NOTE TO READERS: We at Nature Explore are told many stories of children’s transformations through play in outdoor classrooms. Yet we rarely hear the back-story of the child’s original behaviors that change with exposure to nature. To know a behavior’s form is not to know its cause. You…
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Rocket Scientists, Loose Parts and Irregular Shapes

If you’re looking for employment at NASA/Cal Tech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories (this is where our spacecraft, moon buggies etc. are designed) you’d be ahead of the pack if you had taken things apart and put things together while playing when you were a child. Back in the 1990’s, when their original genius rocket scientists were retiring, the…
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Nature Inspired Learning at Home

Many of you consult our Resource Guide (both online and in print) to purchase nature-rich materials for your outdoor classrooms. While these products have been field tested in Nature Explore Classrooms, and we often state that they are for outdoor classroom use, we know that they serve children’s learning just as well at home. Especially…
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Now, and Later

The child who walks the entire balance log successfully, and calls for her teacher to watch, owns that learning. She is thrilled by her success. She had been on a mission to walk that log without falling. From this learning period, and from her repeated walks along the log, her balance will be enhanced and…
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All in the Family

Long before he retired in 1986, science teacher Thomas Rider started a “nature study area” next to one of the two adjacent schools that are the Alexander, New York public school system. Back then, children routinely spent more time in nature than is typical today. Yet over the years, as nature’s role in children’s lives…
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Seeing is Believing: No Teacher Left Indoors (Part 3)

Those of us who have inhaled the Nature Explore Classroom experience truly “get” something that many others simply haven’t seen or experienced firsthand; rich, whole-child learning in nature. Every education professional I’ve interviewed over the years prefers their outdoor classroom to the playgrounds they had known before. Whether they use it for curricular activity, or…
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