The Nature Explore Classroom at
Reeths-Puffer Pennsylvania Elementary Kindergarten
The Reeths-Puffer Pennsylvania Elementary school is a unique kindergarten program that takes pride in educating two classrooms of forty children in an environmentally conscious building, using a place-based curriculum that allows children to exercise their academic, emotional, creative, social, and physical potential.
Through study trips that support learning, collaborating with community members and families, and becoming a Nature Explore Outdoor Certified classroom, this public school program offers children endless opportunities to learn about the world we live in and the role they play within it. The environmental citizens that are grown through this collective effort will have a powerful effect on the future of the planet and humanity. This is what drives us. This is what we are dedicated to.
Our interest in the Nature Explore Certification program was a natural next step as we were excited to take on the challenge of refining our already in-place rich outdoor learning environment. Our school does not begin and end in the classroom and oftentimes throughout the day, you can find us cleaning the chicken coop, amending soil in the hoop house, making mud pies in the outdoor kitchen, planting seeds in the greenhouse, weeding and harvesting in the Community Garden, observing caterpillars in the butterfly garden, turning the compost piles, measuring the dimensions of a new garden space or engaging in a whole host of other meaningful, scientific investigations that involve interacting with the air, water, earth, and friendships around us.
Messy Area: Here you will find children flipping, stacking, carrying and building with stumps and sticks. You can see their imaginations working as they leap from stump to stump crossing a pretend stream one day or staying out of hot lava the next.
Explore Sound: From across the school yard you can hear music that is being made on the giant wooden xylophone or with the most unlikely materials like muffin tins, stock pots, cans, pipe wind chimes and kitchen utensils to name a few.
Butterfly Garden: Children wind through a path that they constructed while they explore butterfly and bee habitats or sit under the arbor on tiny wooden benches to chat.
Outdoor Kitchen: Imagine being served the most delicious mud pie while your friend washes the dishes in the real sink and a farmer’s market stand is being run to sell the fresh baked goods. This is just a glimpse of fun our kindergartners have in the outdoor kitchen.
In addition to all of these beautiful areas, our students can immerse themselves in the rest of our outdoor classroom areas such as: wheeling down Rocket Road; digging for dinosaur bones in our digging area; splashing in the water and watching it create energy and movement; putting on hard hats to build houses and towns with all sorts of materials in our building area; using materials they have found in nature to make beautiful masterpieces in our nature art area; reading a book, laying on the ground or practicing yoga in our grassy gathering area; caring for our feathered friends from the hen house; and of course using our hands to grow food in our hoop house, greenhouse and garden.
We are honored to collaborate with the team at Nature Explore and look forward to our continued growth in helping children discover themselves in our outdoor classroom.
2500 Pennsylvania Elementary School
Muskegon, MI 49445