Community Connection


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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Embracing Your Inner Child

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”  -George Bernard Shaw As a parent, watching my son experience the world around him is a true joy in my life. There is something so beautiful and humbling about the way a child can connect to a moment in life…
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Music and Nature: A Natural Combination

From under the shelter of a tree, a six year old calls to her playmates. “Listen, come hear my song.” Her friends gather around. She sings of the sun rising high in the sky and the sparkling rivers connecting to the sea. Her refrain includes the melodic phrase, “because this beautiful day means everything to…
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Community Building Resource List

This July at the annual Nature Explore/Outdoor Classroom Project Leadership Institute, a dynamic group of early childhood and nature enthusiast gathered in Nebraska City to share expertise and solidify our intentions to more fully connect ourselves and our children to the natural world. One third of the participants were Certified Nature Explore Classrooms from across…
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Preparing Your Outdoor Classroom for the New School Year

With summer coming to a close, now is a great time to replenish your classroom for the upcoming school year. Let’s roll up our sleeves and check some maintenance to-do’s off the list! Before you get started, quickly assess your outdoor classroom and jot down the areas that will need attention. This will help as…
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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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A Growing Community

What a thrilling week! Surrounded by the wonders of nature at the Lied Lodge and Conference Center in Nebraska City, Nebraska, a motivated group of natural outdoor classroom users and advocates came together during the Nature Explore/Outdoor Classroom Project Leadership Institute to learn from each other and enhance our shared mission of connecting children with…
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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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Water Conservation in Your Outdoor Classroom

In most regions, the long days of summer lend themselves to water play. While water is refreshing and fun, it is also a precious natural resource. So how do we balance our desire to conserve with the joy of learning with water in a Nature Explore Classroom?  Here are 5 tips to keep you splashing….
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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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