4th Street Early Education Center

In an educational world where asphalt yards dominate our school systems, 4th Street Early Education Center Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom takes this world into a total new ecosphere of adventure.

Our children have a natural curiosity and have no reservations about their natural environment which is full of explorations, experimentations, investigations, and observations of all that awaits them, such as that unknown bug, worm, caterpillar, or insect for them to hold and observe. There are endless opportunities and no hesitation for our students as they are immersed in our Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom.

It allows them the opportunity to strengthen their relationships with the world around them. As students spend time outdoors, they learn about caring for their environment; learn how to take action to protect it; and reap the beauty of it. Our natural environment provides many benefits, such as, increased educational development, better concentration, creative imaginative play, hands-on skills, fine motor development, ecological awareness, empathy, and physical and mental well-being.

Eleven years ago, 4th Street Early Education Center embarked on an unfamiliar journey with unquestionably no knowledge of an outdoor nature classroom. What was a Nature Explore Classroom? Could it be developed in our urban community in the core of the city? Many of our school educators had never even experienced a trip into the woods to camp out. Our local parks were the most comparable to any nature we had ever experienced. Nature was unknown to us, and we had no experience with it. We were terrified of insects and some of us had never even stepped foot into a garden. We were in for an experience of a lifetime. As we stepped into this new Nature Explore Classroom, we noticed most of the yard was bare. A few plants, trees, and bushes were thriving throughout the yard, nothing well designed or impressive.

As the years passed, we embraced the Nature Explore Classroom and gained knowledge to develop our yard for the students. We received more training and resources and witnessed our yard taking form. Staff and our community of parents helped shaped what is now our hidden treasure in the heart of East Los Angeles. Donations continued to stream in from families and past alumni. Our staff has created an Outdoor Nature Explore team with the goal to maintain, sustain, enhance, and remain focused with our breathtaking yard.

We are always ready for the challenges we may encounter although it is a continuous process that will never end. Every new family that enters the magical world of the Nature Explore Classroom at 4th Street Early Education Center has been incredibly grateful and appreciative for their child to have such an enriching nature-based learning experiences and have memories that will last for a lifetime.

The Nature Explore Classroom has provided staff on ways to guide our children’s innermost curiosity of the world around them; giving them opportunities to experience the wonders of nature and what it has to offer them. It contributes to social emotional learning for challenging behaviors and teaches children empathy, builds stronger relationships, and increases selfconfidence. Children have taught the adults a lesson that fear is learned and is not born within us. They have no fear. They have also taught us that a simple stick can become much more than that. A simple stick is a magical wand, a microphone, a snake, or just a plain old stick that transforms into a beautiful building when combined with others sticks. The possibilities are endless at 4th Street Early Education Center.

The entire staff wholeheartedly embrace and contribute to our Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom with honor, passion, and pride. Our children are privileged to participate in such an exciting outdoor natural environment that truly fosters a love and respect for nature as our children make connections with nature. Most uniquely, it is a different adventure every day for the little minds that walk through our doors ready to learn and experience the wonders of nature.

This is the Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom at 4th Street Early Education Center, one of the best-kept secret in Los Angeles Unified School District and now celebrating ten years of recertification of our Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom.