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 of Nature Explore Classrooms foster holistic skill development and child-led learning experiences. We witness this, anecdotally, on a daily basis. Now, a research study conducted at a Nature Explore Classroom in Minnesota describes these benefits.

The results are profound. The research indicates the positive influence of child-initiated experiences, ample opportunities to build skills while experiencing a combination of designated interest areas, and readily available open-ended natural materials.

Takeaways to consider as you establish and refine YOUR program:


Source: This Never Would Have Happened Indoors: Supporting Preschool-Age Children’s Learning in a Nature Explore Classroom in Minnesota (2010) by Bohling, V., Saarela, C, & Miller, D.L.