Posts by Category


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…
Read More


The Heart of Hope

For over fifty years, the Hope Center of Denver, Colorado, has provided early education and meals to special-needs and at-risk children, largely from minority communities. The story of the Hope Center and its Nature Explore Classroom inspired this 2015 blog post. Yet it deserves another; for its heart. Hope recently hosted two back-to-back Nature Explore…
Read More


With a Little Help From My Friend: Creating an Inspirational Nature Explore Classroom in Granger, Indiana

We’ve met Chris Whitmire in past blog posts (here, and here). She’s the Principal of the Early Learning Center, a private school for young children located at Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana. This NAEYC-accredited school is only five years old. I thought of talking with Chris for this blog post because she has been…
Read More


The Bee Handler, and other stories from the Fourth Street Early Education Center

No Need for Words Imagine finding yourself in a new school in the middle of a large urban area consisting largely of small houses and small businesses. You go outside with the other children to see a “playground” that’s completely different from any you’ve seen before. Instead of swings and slides there are plants, trees,…
Read More


Positively Fourth Street

Steady rainfall prevented me from seeing and playing with children in their outdoor classroom at East Los Angeles Fourth Street Early Education Center. During my recent tour of the indoor classrooms with Josefina Navarro, the Principal, a young girl spontaneously approached us with the gift of a tiny flower. Natural materials, many brought in from…
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


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…
Read More


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…
Read More


ExpERIEnce is Key

Ainslie Brosig describes herself as a person who does not like to get dirty, a person who tries to “contain a mess.” This is why she was surprised when she found inspiration and joy in a creating a Nature Explore Classroom at ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum in Erie, Pennsylvania. Ainslie, Executive Director of the museum and…
Read More