St. Andrew Christian Preschool

A grape arbor welcomes students into our Outdoor Classroom and also frames our wheeled vehicle track where children ride bikes, scooters, and wagons around a traditional climbing structure, under our mature cherry trees, and even through a small tunnel.

The areas of our outdoor classroom are identified by signs and changes of terrain. Wood chips underlay the climbing areas, the mud kitchen has a floor of pine needles under our large Douglas Fir tree, and the sand and water area are defined by sand and an embedded rocky creek over which students can pump water. Our music area includes a marimba, a five drum set, and bells made out of recycled fire extinguishers.

Our large movement areas are covered with grass and have large hills for climbing and rolling, as well as log planks and stumps for balancing and building. A paved path, which connects the spaces and provides wheelchair access, also passes under two weeping birch trees which are pruned for sight lines but still provide a hide-out in which children love to play.

We have begun a “forest” in our upper field with the planting of ten native trees to accompany the three young trees already growing there. Classes visit the trees, help care for them, make observations and wonderings, and run and play in the tall grass. We are excited to have our forest be a place of learning and exploration for decades to come, as well as develop a natural habitat for local flora and fauna!

Two gazebos with tree stump seating sit atop the hill of our large movement area and are used as gathering spaces – with a little protection from the weather – in addition to the gathering space on our stage and log seats under the Doug Fir tree.

A community garden edges one side of our outdoor classroom. The preschool uses four of the garden beds as an additional way for students to investigate and engage with nature. The space also connects community members with our outdoor classroom and encourages children to utilize the space while their families are gardening throughout the summer.

Students develop a wide variety of skills as they learn through play, work, exploration, and enjoyment in our outdoor Nature Explore Classroom.