The Nature Explore Classroom at

Happy Hearts Childcare

The Nature Explore Classroom at Happy Hearts Childcare in Salina, KS is the second certified Nature Explore Classroom in Kansas.


Children and staff helped design this outdoor space. Interest in birds and bugs led to the selection of a variety of plants that attract varying species of both. Built around well established vegetation and trees, natural materials can be found throughout the classroom.

Logs, bushes and other plantings, in addition to varying types of ground cover are used to differentiate areas. A variety of flowering plants were chosen to supply color throughout the seasons.

Areas that attract more one-on-one learning have been designed with privacy in mind and incorporate elements that reduce noise coming from other areas of the classroom. The butterfly garden, herb garden and vegetable garden provide ample opportunity for children to explore safe vegetation. A drought resistant, high traffic grass was used throughout the classroom.

As the outdoor classroom was being created, visual clutter was eliminated and natural items replaced worn or weathered plastic components. Natural colors were also integrated to create a calm and soothing atmosphere.

Each month, Happy Hearts Child Care provides a parent night. Discussion has brought about the formation of The Nature Explore Club beginning in September of 2010.