The Nature Explore Classroom at

All Saints’ Episcopal Day School

All Saints’ Episcopal Day School is dedicated to having a wonderful outdoor space. Children experience joy and wonder for the natural world and hands-on learning by playing outside for extended periods.

Our former Head of School, Cindy LaPorte, added outdoor easels, a dramatic play stage with a mirror, a raised bed garden, and a mulberry tree that brings butterflies, birds, and small mammals. She knew that outdoor learning is integral to helping students become life-long learners with “Minds that think. Hearts that love. Hands that help.”

Informed by the latest educational research, that shows both better learning outcomes and self-regulation skills, the School has continued to improve the outdoor space to maximize the benefits. As an Episcopal school, an additional spiritual benefit for children is understanding that we are a part of God’s creation and the importance of being good stewards of the Earth.

At All Saints’, outdoor play is known as essential to the healthy development of body, mind, and spirit.
The design of our playground was intentionally improved to become an outdoor classroom. There are
more than twelve distinct play areas where indoor learning materials are brought outside and used
alongside natural materials, to encourage whole-child learning. In the outdoor classroom, teachers work to help children become independent, feel belonging and connection to others, and develop a love of nature.

To spend more time outdoors in the Texas heat, more shade was needed. We added a pergola to the
Music and Movement Area as well as a large shade structure to cover the Sand Area. Additional STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) experiences were added with a Building Area and Lego wall.

To create more natural green space, there are many gardens including a fairy and butterfly garden,
vegetable, flower and herb gardens, and garden boxes outside each classroom. Students enjoy
gardening classes, and observing and taking care of the seeds, plants, and creatures. Trumpet vine is
encouraged to grow along our fence, and trees are nurtured in and around the outdoor classroom.

The All Saints’ community has come together to make an amazing outdoor classroom. A large flower
and bug mural was painted by former teacher and local artist, Anna Kamburis. The Weynand family
donated gravel for our gravel pit and Garden Area. Jerry LaPorte built easels for the Nature Art Area and a music wall for the Music and Movement Area. Many families donated plants and their time. Our
outdoor classroom uses natural materials, including plants and trees, regional materials, and artwork to make a beautiful place for your child to explore nature. Children at All Saints’ are happier, healthier, and more independent because of the opportunities they have in the outdoor classroom.

On a typical day in the outdoor classroom, you can observe children deeply engaged and working cooperatively to dig in the sand and make volcanoes and rivers, building rocket ships and castles, singing and dancing on the stage, observing snails and butterflies, and excitedly raking, sweeping, and watering the garden.


209 W 27th Street
Austin, TX  78705