The Nature Explore Classroom at
Sabrina’s Family Childcare
In a time when kids didn’t get enough outdoor play, I felt a strong pull to build a special place where the children I care for could enjoy nature. My love for the outdoors made me want to share that excitement with them every day. I made sure nature was part of everything we did, moving easily between indoor and outdoor activities, and always putting safety first. But I wanted more for our outdoor space.
With a distinguished 4-star rating within Texas’ Quality Rating System, Texas Rising Star, I found myself fortunate to receive funding from Workforce Solutions of Central Texas. Their support in funding the Nature Explore consultation served as the pivotal moment that transformed my vision into a reality. After receiving funding from Workforce Solutions of Central Texas for my outdoor classroom, I conducted research. I discovered a clear lack of certified Nature Explore classrooms among home providers in Central Texas, a gap that stands out when compared to center-based programs in the state. These certified outdoor spaces seemed harder for home providers to access, which ignited my commitment to completing my outdoor classroom project.
This venture wasn’t just about improving my business and serving my current families; it was about setting a new standard for prospective families joining my program, as well as other home-based educators. To bring this dream to life, I secured a business loan, investing approximately $15,000. While it was a significant financial commitment, the returns far surpassed the monetary value.
Upon sharing the design plans with my childcare families, our collective enthusiasm propelled us to bring the outdoor classroom to life swiftly. Opting to hire a local landscaping company streamlined the process, enabling us to accomplish everything within a week instead of extending the tasks over time. Coincidentally, one of the families integral to my childcare journey, in the state of Texas, was associated with the landscaping company, aligning my support with both a local business and a family within my childcare community.
This transformative project shifted my perception from a conventional indoor classroom to viewing our outdoor space as an extension of our learning environment. Activities like growing a watermelon from seed to table offer richer experiences compared to merely reading a story to the children about its life cycle. It caters to diverse learning styles and abilities, infusing real-life examples into my lesson plans. Furthermore, it nurtures spontaneity, empowering children to actively shape their surroundings. A vivid example of this occurred when the children collectively envisioned a rocket ship within a teepee-like structure in the climbing/crawling area. They took the initiative to repurpose a few 2×4 wooden pieces into a ‘door’ for this imagined rocket ship, showcasing their flourishing imagination and creative development.
These moments further prove how the outdoor classroom not only nurtures creative imagination but also integrates various learning domains. My hope is to inspire fellow home providers to embrace nature-inspired classrooms. Through firsthand experience, I’ve witnessed remarkable improvements in children’s behavior and learning, recognizing the potential for such intentional environments to create a more child-led atmosphere, especially considering the unique challenges faced by home providers handling numerous tasks alone.These moments serve as compelling evidence of the outdoor classroom’s profound impact, not just in fostering creative imagination but also in seamlessly integrating diverse learning domains
My greatest hope is to inspire other home providers to embrace the wonder of nature-inspired classrooms. Witnessing firsthand the remarkable improvements in children’s behavior and learning within these purposeful environments is truly remarkable. It highlights the incredible impact an outdoor classroom can have in a child-centered atmosphere, which is particularly crucial for home providers juggling multiple tasks alone. These spaces not only revolutionize learning but also profoundly shape the experiences of children, which opens the door to endless possibilities for growth and development.
118 McFaddan Ln
Temple TX, 76502