The Nature Explore Classroom at
The Chai Center Preschool and Camp
The Chai Center Preschool and Camp is a center for Jewish people of all backgrounds and affiliations who wish to learn more about their heritage.
Located on 1 1/2 acres on Vanderbilt Parkway in Dix Hills, The Chai Center offers a wide variety of educational and spiritual opportunities. The Chai Tots Preschool at the Chai Center has created a Nature Explore Classroom to bring learning outdoors, connecting their children with nature on a daily basis and engaging families.
Initially, parents of the preschool children came to plant together with their children. Staff are using curriculum to explain the benefits of outdoor play, and volunteers now come to harvest vegetables, cut fresh flowers and spend time with their children enjoying the space.
This beautiful outdoor nature scape was designed to allow for full visibility of each of the areas needed for certification while giving children the freedom and opportunity to discover and play in the area of their choosing. Berms, trees, landscaping materials and plantings were used to create each of the areas for the Nature Explore Classroom. A sprinkler system was installed to keep maintenance low and the grassy areas lush and beautiful throughout the growing season.
Wooden signs, designating each area, were purchased from the Nature Explore program natural products resource guide. The bike path was imprinted with special animal prints to add interest. These include animals that are common in the area, such as raccoon, dog, geese, and rabbit. Large chimes define the Music Area while large pieces of slate are centerpieces for the Nature Art Area. The sandbox is formed so that the water naturally washes through the sand, creating a natural feel for this well-loved area.