The Nature Explore Classroom at

Phyllis and Richard Leet Center
for Children and Families

The Bellisimo Wonder Park has changed the way that our children work in the outdoors.

For faculty, this space has helped us realize the abilities of children in the outdoors and has reframed our language and practices. Faculty no longer use the term recess. Our time in the outdoors is now called Outdoor Explorations and is seen as just as important as indoor learning time. Teachers intentionally plan for experiences with modifications and curated exploration activities. Even our school supply list has developed by including rain boots as a necessity for our program. Our children are more competent and confident to take risks. They are no longer worried about getting dirty or wet.

The exceptional features in the space allow for them to climb, discover and explore the natural environment with the help of supportive adults. We have had many exciting events in the outdoor classroom as well. These events include Science Night in the Outdoors, Welcome Back Pot lucks, Family Picnics, Spring Cleanup Days, Gardening Days and many relaxed visits from families to the space during and after hours.

The dream of this space was realized with the help of many volunteers and we can’t thank you enough for the support for our Wonder Park.


800 University Drive
Maryville, MO  64468