The Nature Explore Classroom at

Otter Creek Child Center-Infant and Toddler and Preschool

Otter Creek Child Center was founded in 1984 and provides a home-like setting for children 6 weeks through 6 years old.

Our program emphasizes nature and outdoor experiences all through focusing on the importance of play. Otter Creek has two outdoor classrooms; one for the infants and toddlers and one for the preschoolers. Both outdoor classrooms were designed and developed with the support of the administrative staff, teachers, children and their families. Workdays are scheduled a few times throughout the year for families to contribute their time, support and ideas into these wonderful learning spaces.

The infant and toddler outdoor classroom was designed to include a wide mixture of open, climbing, and play spaces incorporating natural rocks, logs and plants. The outdoor classroom was intended to be as low maintenance as possible with materials chosen for long-lasting durability. Three raised flower and vegetable gardens were built to include a wide variety of vegetables and flowers throughout the summer months, and low plants are scattered throughout the space. The infant/toddler outdoor classroom has many areas for exploration and incorporates a large sand area, climbing areas, garden area, art area, and a building area with a large storage unit for the blocks.

The preschool outdoor classroom was designed accordingly to take in consideration of some challenges through their topographic landscape. We have included many natural features such as a log climbing area, building and science tables; log enclosed sand area and a two-level treehouse climbing structure. In this outdoor classroom, the preschoolers have a wide variety of activities such as sensory, climbing, active gross motor play, art, and building experiences. The children spend many hours daily outside in the space along with utilizing the woods back behind the center.

Otter Creek is looking forward to expanding and enhancing our outdoor classrooms to incorporate more natural materials and developing an outdoor play-based curriculum for the children and families.

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150 Weybridge Street
Middlebury, VT  05753

Infant and Todder