Nana’s Learning Post

We continue using, improving, and repairing our Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom because we find it helps all children be calm, develop a love of the outdoors, learn and develop.

We especially love how calming our Outdoor Classroom is. The ribbons moving in the breeze, the birds chirping, and the squirrels making a chittering are so calming. Challenging behavior is seriously reduced just by being outdoors. Having a Nature Explore Certified Classroom means continuous updating and changing to suit the dreams, needs and desire of the children and families. One of the ideas the children chose was creating a bear den, so it was created with window sheers with a little sparkle over the little trees and viola! It was a bear den with many little “cubs” in it.

In the music area we added a music stand with funny things like wrenches and cow bells on it with a spoon striker. The wrenches actually sound quite lovely. It is a favorite right now. Everyone still loves the bamboo people chime and the shell chime has children go through it multiple times daily. They have learned how to jump up and tap the typical chimes over the music area to chime them. The music area is definitely one of the favorites. Some items from the music area, the handheld xylophone and frog percussion instruments tend to get walked around to different areas as well and then returned at the end of the day.

We added more trucks to our truck/mulch digging area as it is another favorite. It was just a simple update to bigger metal trucks. The children love them and truck mulch, leaves, flowers, and other items all over the yard.

Our gardens are flourishing and producing. We have the hydroponic tower, butterfly garden, and herb garden in the children’s area. This year we added a “scentsory” garden in the front yard that the children can check out and pick in with teacher or parent assistance. It is full of different herbs, some not so typical so they can smell the different scents and taste the flavors. In a separate front area it also has milkweed to draw in Monarch butterflies in the front so children can see caterpillars and butterflies but are closely supervised by an adult. In Florida we have multiple growing seasons so we are just heading up our fall/winter garden and getting ready to plant more.

Being outdoors things wear out quicker in Florida. This year we updated our block table with a lovely outdoor table that should weather well in our Florida weather. It is a nice big square, low to the ground, so the children can easily build on it. We currently have two different size sets of nature blocks/tree cookies, as well as traditional unit blocks to build with outside. We soon will be adding more blocks, Outlast blocks with ramps for additional STEM.