The Nature Explore Classroom at
Little Munchkins Preschool Center
Nestled among a various selection of trees, shrubs, flowers and plants, the classroom inspires a remarkable first-hand experience of nature. From birds and squirrels eating at our homemade feeders to rabbits sneaking snacks from our gardens, our outdoor classroom grants ceaseless opportunities for learning. Whether you are looking for a warm place to soak up the sun or a cool spot in the shade, there is a place for everyone to appreciate what nature has to offer. Personalizing our outdoor classroom has been the most rewarding of all the projects we have done in our classroom. Children, parents, staff and members of our community have come together in collaborating a space where we belong.
Children have spent countless hours making bird feeders and a sand wall, painting rocks, and weaving materials on the “weaving tee-pee”. Design and presentation were thoroughly researched to create the most inviting nature-inspired learning possible. The Family Flower Garden, featuring a trickling water fountain, welcomes all to this beautiful outdoor classroom. Perennials have been transplanted from families’ homes and flowers add beautiful pops of color to draw children into each area. Entering through the wooden gate, a winding boardwalk guides you past a fruit and vegetable garden encased in a cedar frame. As you approach the corner of the building, there is a water barrel designed to catch the excess rainfall from the gutters. The Messy Materials Area is now home to famous “Munchkins Mud Pies”. As the boardwalk comes to an end, the eye-catching Nature Art Patio Area invites you to enter a space filled with various mediums such as tree cookie chalkboards, easels, nature paint brushes, colorful paint, natural clay, sticks, stones; allowing for limitless opportunities for creativity.
Attached to the Storage Area, is the Sand Area which is surrounded by gorgeous ornamental plants that dance in the breeze. Grapevines spread overhead on a pergola, providing a tropical hideaway feel. Through a stand of lush cedar trees sits a Building Area full of open-ended natural materials such as sticks, tree cookies, pinecones, logs, and planks. Among a collection of beech trees, is the Music and Movement Area where soothing sounds from various wind chimes and homemade instruments fill the air. The Little Munchkins Tree House provides a variety of climbing and crawling opportunities while a lavish area of green grass opens up for gross motor activities. In the middle of this Action Area is a small red maple tree that designates the Gathering Area. This space allows for children to gather as an entire group for stories or sit with a few friends in the shade.
Family involvement is an important facet at Little Munchkins Preschool Center. Families were asked to bring in bulbs, shrubs or divided perennials from their own gardens to transplant to the Family Flower Garden. Over 15 families came together to create this special area. Fruit and vegetable gardens flourished with thanks to a family with many years of experience at their small hobby farm. This dad also works at the local forestry complex. His knowledge helped the Center make “organic super soil”. Many special events are hosted in the outdoor classroom, from summer barbecues and concerts to Preschool Graduation. Families come together with children and educators in valuing natural resources for a sustainable future.