The Nature Explore Classroom at

Newtown Friends School

A beautiful outdoor classroom and playground, designed by Nature Explore, a collaborative program of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Education Research Foundation, was completed in time for the opening of the fall 2015 school year.



Our youngest students are enjoying a variety of hands-on experiences in this inviting outdoor setting that used to be a traditional playground area. Each area in our outdoor classroom is divided into sections by brick pathways and other natural materials, such as logs, plants and mulch. Three major focal points maximize the overall beauty of this new space. Visitors will first see a tall custom wood arbor, flanked by two flowering crepe myrtles, when they enter the outdoor classroom. A sign hangs on the arbor, constructed of wood from the Blue Atlas Spruce tree that formerly stood in the playground, bearing the name of our new space “This Friendly Place.”

Our Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom also was personalized with our school logo in a beautiful central paver area where the pathways connect. Newtown Friends School families are invited to reserve an engraved paver to honor their student, show their school spirit, and create a lasting remembrance at NFS. An assortment of trees, shrubs and plants were thoughtfully selected to add to the beauty and sense of calm that the outdoor classroom creates. These selections included the Pennsylvania state tree, the Hemlock, and a Gingko tree, which is the oldest tree in North America, as well as various fruit trees.

During the school year, teachers and students will enjoy new learning and play possibilities as they discover the beauty and wonder of nature, including planting flowers and weeding the garden, using a rain barrel to catch rain water so the children can water the plants, creating art projects from natural materials (pine cones, leaves, shells, branches) and recycled materials (plastic water bottles and other items) and constructing bird houses to feed and attract birds. This year, as we launch our new space, students will be given an opportunity to generate their own ideas about projects they would like to do and Prekindergarten and Kindergarten classes will create a project to be implemented and displayed in the outdoor classroom each year. We thank all of the generous donors from the NFS community who contributed to the project through their participation in our spring 2015 Parents Association Auction. Your support made this transformation possible and we are deeply grateful.


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1450 Newtown-Langhorne Rd
Newtown, PA  18940