The Nature Explore Classroom at

Loving Hands Daycare & Preschool

Our story started in July of 2013, when I was making my way around the internet and came upon an outdoor classroom that – little did I know – would change our program forever.

We started purging plastic from our program and offering real tools and loose parts. My eyes were opened to the likes of Bev Bos and I knew we had to do something better for the children in our program. We’ve come a long way, but we’re still learning and letting go of our former teacher lead ways.

Our program spends a majority of our time outside: rain or shine. Our outdoor classroom isn’t just for blowing off steam, it’s an extension of our classroom, and actually, it’s our main classroom. Children are encouraged to explore, create, and – yes – get messy! A change of clothing is always a must!

Our outdoor classroom has many unique features. Visitors are welcomed by a whimsical archway created by local artist Rachel Simons. Our stage, aka Where the Wild Things Are…has produced many original productions and some aspiring actors have found their love of theater behind the blue curtains. The Mud Café is NEVER closed and always open for IMAGINATION, so pull up a seat and order a slice of mud pie! Our book house and hammocks are utilized year round, as we feel making books available is a necessity. We have a 2nd book house outside our gate for families and people in our community to take books. We want everyone to have access to books.

We have enjoyed front row seats to the inner workings of a beehive. Thanks to our observation bee hive our little eyes can see how bees work together in their hive – something that is usually kept hidden away from the world to see. Our raised garden is a work of love, designed and planted by children waiting to devour its yummy harvest. Music is always in the air, tapping out a beat on the drums or ringing the bells will have you breathing in the music clear to your toes. Our PLAY HIVE isn’t just for climbing: it can be a house for the 3 little bears, a mountain for the 3 Billy Goats Gruff, hideout for bad guys or anything your imagination can conjure up!

Mirrors are strategically placed around our outdoor classroom so we can see our world from different views. Our trusty log horse Roxy takes us to far off places with a quick shake of her tail. I’m glad I don’t have to choose what the most favorite feature is because it would be a 3-way tie between the 3 water pumps, the tire swing, and the art easel…..oh, I almost forgot the sand area! We have many amazing features that take turns being “THE FAVORITE”, depending on where the imagination will take you.

I LOVE Ms. Alicia’s backyard! It’s my favorite place” Just this week walking into the yard to pick Eddie up I could see what an amazing day he had. He was using a real shovel to dig a trench that his friend was pouring water into. He was getting that water from a real hand pump. The boys were fully engaged, had a plan, and were working hard. As we left I heard them making plans with each other to continue their work the next day. The materials, space, and time that is given my son is such a gift!Elizabeth Richardson, parent
My favorite thing about the outdoor area is that it’s a space where they can let their imaginations go to infinity and beyond. I love that every area engages different skills.Heather Maekamden, parent



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107 Birdland Dr.
Lambs Grove, IA  50208