Are you ready for a Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom? Let’s do this!
Every day, I want to shout from the roof tops, “The Nature Explore program is changing education! Come on world, let’s do this together!” I have the absolutely incredible opportunity to live and breathe Nature Explore and watch the lives of children, families and educators completely change as a result of embracing the outdoors as an extension of the indoor classroom. As a non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of connecting children with nature, we are here as your support system and to provide expertise from a wealth of research and experience…I’m talking A LOT. I have seen our program grow immensely– because of passionate people like you that are deeply committed to outdoor exploration and discovery. With more than 500 outdoor classroom designs under our belts and over 15 years of research, we know what works and we are passionate about working in collaboration with you and your planning team. The Nature Explore program design process is FAR from typical. It is innovative and all encompassing…everything we do comes from the heart. So…are you ready to get started?
Nature Explore Outdoor Classrooms are uniquely designed for each location. These outdoor environments promote whole-child learning in nature, child-initiated exploration, and adult-supported discovery that goes well beyond recess. This is a nitty gritty step-by-step guide to ensure your experience is effective, efficient and most importantly…FUN.
Step 1: Call us!
The folks on the Nature Explore Client Relationship team are excited to talk to you – no matter where you are in the process. Throw as many questions as you can to these team members…trust me, they are ready! You will have the opportunity to talk with Ken, Tara, Carly, and from the moment we start conversing, you will be supported by one of us through the entire process and beyond…we will be your “go-to” here at the Nature Explore program. Let us introduce you to the design process, create a proposal of services and provide you with any additional support material you need to make an informed decision.
“One’s mind, stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
Step 2: Scheduling your outdoor classroom design
If you rent from another entity, or have a governing board, be sure you have taken all appropriate measures to get permission for the transformation of the space. Sometimes this means meeting with a Board of Directors to get approval of land use and in some cases, access to money budgeted for “playground improvements.” Once you have crossed your “t’s” and dotted your “i’s,” call your Client Relationship Manager to move forward in scheduling the Outdoor Classroom Design 2-day visit.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question: What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Step 3: Gather the troops!
We will talk a lot about the importance of a diverse planning team to help support your efforts and hard work. From our experience, a team of 6-8 individuals seems to be the perfect number. People to consider for your team may include: program administrators, teaching staff representatives, board members, facilities/maintenance staff, representatives from community organizations, parents from your program, etc. Nature Explore will personally reach out to a few of our partners like Keep America Beautiful and Tree City USA to see if representatives from your local chapters may be able to attend the meetings during our 2 day visit as well.
“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Step 4: Preparation for the onsite design visit
We want to learn as much as we can about your program, so before our team arrives for the two day on-site design consultation, your Client Relationship Manager will send you resources and educational materials to inspire you and your planning team. We will also schedule a conference call that includes your Nature Explore Landscape Architect and Educational Specialist team – this is a fun opportunity to chat a little bit about the upcoming visit and answer any questions you may have.
“Work is love made visible.” – Kahlil Gibran
Knowledge is powerful and great change comes with determination, passion and good old-fashioned hard work. You can do this. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Want to learn more about the design visit itself? Click here to learn more: https://natureexplore.org/design/.
You can also request a FREE Nature Explore Resource Guide to learn more about our products and services.
*This blog post was originally published August 2016