The Nature Explore Classroom at

St. Vincent Early Learning Center

In early 2018, the educators at St. Vincent Early Learning Center began to think about their work differently. They dreamed of how they could connect children to each other, the world and their community in ways that they had never done before.

They began to make changes in their classroom that reflected their values of supporting children’s natural curiosity, connecting children with nature and working alongside families as partners. At the same time, the leadership of St. Vincent ELC began dreaming of creating spaces for children that were more beautiful, functional and natural.

The leadership team decided that since the teachers had been doing such tremendous work inside the school, it was time to focus on the space outside of the school and the idea for the Outdoor Classroom was born. Over the course of the year St. Vincent ELC staff met with community members and stakeholders, families, teachers and children to dream about what an Outdoor Classroom might look like. We contracted with Nature Explore in the early spring to design our classroom and offer professional development for our teachers and the community.
Our project took root in the winter of 2018. Children eagerly watched as their playgrounds that they knew were demolished and wondered what might be coming.

The Outdoor Classroom at St. Vincent Early Learning Center opened in July of 2019. It is a place where children and adults learn and play together. A place that children look forward to visiting and adults count down the days until they are scheduled again. It has been a great source of pride for our school and also our community and we know it will continue to inspire and teach children and adults for years to come.

730 W. Delaware Street
Evansville, IN 47710