The Nature Explore Classroom at
Child’s Play Family Child Care
My journey to create my outdoor classroom started after opening my back door one morning.
This was something I did every morning for years when getting ready for my work day. But this morning I stopped to really take in the view that was before me. It felt sedative, as if this was my first time in this space. I took a short walk around my yard to capture the view from different angles. Not only was the view amazing but listening to the sounds of nature was captivating.
Later that afternoon, while my daycare children were napping, I decided to open the door again. That amazing feel was still there. I looked back at the innocent little faces of the children sleeping (it was a long day). After nap time, I decided to take the children for a walk outside. This was something else that I did many times. But this time I paid very close attention & observed how each of the children took in the space.
After work that night, I sat down to use the computer. I did a search on Goggle using the words “nature teaching for children”. That’s when
I discovered the Nature Explore Program. I knew right away that this was ideal for where I wanted to take my program. It was especially appealing to me because I felt it was a must for the six very active boys that were in my program at that time. I noticed that the Nature Explore program was having a Leadership Institute on outdoor classrooms. I convinced myself that
I must attend.
I took the excitement that I had for my upcoming trip and started making changes to our outdoor space. My first step was getting my own family on board with my plan for our yard space. We removed all the plastic toys from our playground and enlisted the help of my husband, a landscaper and handyman, to create a design/layout for our new space. His first hands-on project was building a large sandbox. This sandbox is one of the children’s favorite features in our space. Plants were transplanted from our existing Japanese theme gardens to enhance different parts of our outdoor space.
I then started sending information home about the Nature Explore program and outdoor classrooms. My hope in doing this was to get the children and families excited about the creation of our new outdoor space.
An information session was offered to give parents a sense of ownership and share their ideas.
I would like to thank my very patient and supportive husband for all the countless hours he put into creating our space and my own children for putting their best foot forward in helping whenever possible. Thanks also to my father for building our nature art table, art panel, block building table, storage units, Music & Movement structure, and the arbors and pergola used to enhance our Gathering Area.
Natasha Warner, Child Care Director
68 Cobblestone Way
Windsor, CT 06095