Posts from November 2017


Roots in Research: A Brief History of Dimensions Educational Research Foundation

We like to think of Dimensions Educational Research Foundation as a wise old oak tree with deep roots in research that feed the whole organization and inform the work of those in our broad network. At Dimensions we are serious about children’s learning. We understand the value of quality care and education during the early…
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Bringing Beautiful Music to Children

He could have had a stellar career as a materials and mechanical engineer. In fact, he has. But in addition to experimenting with automobile sound systems and developing aircraft parts, Chris Nissen did something else—something that has changed the lives of children across the country. He made a drum. While working on a project for…
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The Marimba Makers

The first time Sean Murphy and Anne Froning built a marimba, they were winging it. They’d never made an instrument—they really didn’t have woodworking experience at all—but, inspired to create a sturdy outdoor instrument that would work well in an outdoor classroom, they dove headfirst into the project. “We’re artists, and we don’t say no to work,”…
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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…
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This Would Never Have Happened Indoors: Holistic Skill Development and Child-Led Learning in Nature Explore Classrooms

This is the seventh 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.   The Nature Explore program team spends a great deal of time celebrating the ways in which outdoor learning and the special features…
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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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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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Nature + Play = Math Learning

How do we help young children develop early math skills that will provide them with a solid foundation, nurture a continued love of learning, and translate to later success in constructing and applying math knowledge? Many early childhood experts believe the best way to help develop this early foundation is through age-appropriate learning, which for…
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Garden of Wonder: How Gardening and Greenhouse Activities Facilitate Learning

This is the third 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 few years ago, researchers explored preschool and kindergarten students’ learning when they were engaged in hands-on activities in the garden and…
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How Do Children Learn in Nature Explore Classrooms? Let us Count the Ways…

This is the second 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.   An increasing body of research has documented the powerful role of play in children’s development and the importance of getting children outdoors….
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