Nature Explore Classroom Signs
by Heather Fox, Dimensions Educational Research Foundation Educational Specialist
Three home child care providers from Indiana grinned from ear to ear as they described their outdoor classrooms. Each space with it’s own flavor and style.
The providers were working toward Nature Explore Classroom Certification and had some questions about the Ten Guiding Principles. These principles, developed by the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, represent a well-rounded mix of experiences that can and should occur outdoors.
When we start to think about our outdoor spaces as classrooms we can see the value in providing specific areas for certain activities. Children should be able to distinguish between areas and find the materials they need as they explore and learn. Guiding principle number four requires that each area be identified with a sign or other visual cues.
Here are a few examples of hand made signs used to help designate the spaces in an infant and toddler Nature Explore Classroom. The chalkboard paint and/or the dry erase marker makes it easy to add and periodically change the words children use to describe each area. When making the dry erase version be sure to cover the photograph in clear sturdy contact paper attaching it to the board with packing tape. We used colorful electric tape to protect the edge of the board. The signs seem to hold up relatively well in the weather.
How do you designate spaces in your Nature Explore Classroom? Let us hear your ideas.