Nuggets from 2016 (Part 2)

This is the second post in our series reviewing blog posts from the past year.


Cultivate the Resiliency in Every Child

By Dexter Lane


Water Conservation in Your Nature Explore Classroom

By Heather Fox


How Do Children Learn in Nature Explore Classrooms? Let us Count the Ways…

By Sara Gilliam   

Research is increasingly documenting the role of play in children’s development, and the benefits of getting children outdoors.


Outdoor Classrooms: Grounding Children in Reality

By Dexter Lane


Connecting all the Pieces in a Nature Explore Classroom

By Diann Gano, Owner/Director of Under the Gingko Tree

This beautiful essay deserves a direct quote.

“This fall, we will find ourselves without two of our favorite little friends as they leave us for kindergarten. Always bittersweet. Always sad, but always exciting. They leave with letter recognition that came without worksheets or flashcards. They can find a letter in nature daily, be it in the form of a tree, a twig, a rock, or a water print on the ground. They will leave with the social skills of spending hours and hours outdoors discovering and problem solving with their friends. They leave with hours of risk taking adventures that will find them full of ideas and confidence to take on new risks in kindergarten. They leave us full of imagination and creativity and critical thinking skills. They leave us with kindness towards others and the earth.”

Thanks, Diann!


Garden of Wonder: How Gardening and Greenhouse Activities Facilitate Learning

By Sara Gilliam

Researchers explored preschool and kindergarten student’s learning when engaged in gardening and greenhouse activities in a Nature Explore Classroom. Some observations:


A 140 Pound Pot-Bellied Pig Walks Into a Preschool, and…  


Four Guinea Pigs; a Sugar Glider, Parakeet, Tarantula, Blue-Tongued Skink, Dwarf Hamster; and Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches                                              

By Dexter Lane

 Two posts about the irrepressible Karen Lucy, and her educational, spiritual and unusual outdoor classroom at the Jewish Congregation Shaare Emeth, in St. Louis, Missouri. A few teasers… 


Follow Nature. Let Them Figure It Out.

By Dexter Lane    

Observations on young children’s learning, based on cutting-edge research, with ideas you can use in your Nature Explore Classroom.


Takeaways from the 2016 Leadership Institute

By Dexter Lane

The Leadership Institute is an annual gathering of educators, administrators, advocates and others, bound by the common interest of exposing children to nature.  Sponsored by the Nature Explore program and the Outdoor Classroom Project, it is held each July at Lied Lodge, in Nebraska City, Nebraska.

Here’s one of the takeaways; a list of the major organizations and systems that have embraced the Nature Explore Classroom concept as a standard.

The real takeaway? You are in great company!


Why Grass Rules

By Jim Wike 

Jim is the beloved leader of the Nature Explore Classroom design team. His enthusiasm for his excellent work is only equaled by his expertise. Here are some basics for those of you with grass lawns (in your outdoor classroom or at home).


Nature + Play = Math Learning

By Sara Gilliam            

Sara shares stories of activities in Nature Explore Classrooms, showing how numerous math concepts are being learned simultaneously in each activity.  The learning includes:


Dragonflies, Alligators and Bears—Oh My!

By Dexter Lane   

Britt Moore, after growing up in Chicago’s South Side, finds himself in a Florida swamp, surrounded by dragonflies, snakes and alligators, all of which (at first) scared him. Fear transformed into fascination which fueled a career in Soil Physics.