The Nature Explore Classroom at
Family Service Head Start Pilgrim
For 116 years Family Service has been empowering individuals and families to transform their lives and strengthen their community. As the oldest human service nonprofit in San Antonio, Family Service is dedicated to helping children, families, and seniors in need.
Family Service’s Head Start Centers promote school readiness by enhancing the cognitive, social and emotional development of children ages 3 to 5. Family Service’s Pilgrim Head Start Center’s garden came about in 2018 through the dedication of parents and teachers. The outdoor learning area is an opportunity for our children to have a safe, open space to connect with nature and gives them access to healthy outdoor activities.
An environmental connection has been proven to aid mental and physical well-being and is one of the social determinants of health, impacting our children’s lives for the better as they continue to grow and develop. Not only does the space provide outdoor learning but it also provides additional responsibility and pride for what they have developed.
We uniquely assigned each classroom their own flower bed to decorate and maintain. The families, children and teachers came together to decorate the planters, decide on the plants, and help with regular upkeep. They all take pride in their creations and how beautiful and large the flowers grow. The outdoor classroom offers the opportunity for all family members to be involved, including fathers.
Our outdoor classroom has special touches from each classroom and child since they were so instrumental in its creation. An entryway, the Doorway to Exploration, welcomes you to the garden. Here you will find brightly decorated rocks that reflect the frequent visitors of the garden, such as ladybugs, or you’ll find colorful rock alphabet letters lined up to spell fun, new words. You may hear the garden before you see it, with the children often playing a variety of home-made musical instruments donated by local university students, families and teachers.
As you walk further into the garden, you’ll find the more active, mobile area. In this large, open space you will encounter the music, art, and large motor skills learning areas. The colorful Pilgrim’s Cubhouse takes center stage and is an area where children engage their imaginations and dream up different scenarios. As you venture around the circle, you’ll come across different book baskets filled with a variety of reading books. Children, families and parents all take a seat on one of the reading rocks to enjoy some more peaceful outdoor time.
The outdoor classroom brought the garden area to life and is now being visited more often by families as they walk along the path and enjoy the colorful hand-painted rocks. The families are also utilizing the reading spaces in the garden.
San Antonio, TX 78213