Wanda Mikes Early Education Center

One of the main points that we would like to highlight in regards to our Nature Explore Classroom is the location and what it has done for our community, staff and students. Our school is located in the center of South Central Los Angeles where students and staff alike do not have access to a safe nurturing natural environment. Our Nature Explore Classroom changed all of that.

Not only did it teach us a new way to look at learning involving natural materials and the whole child, but It has also provided a sense of peace. When it is time for us to go out and explore the classroom, the children referred to it as “the park”. Our students get excited about using natural materials to learn and are becoming one with nature.

Teachers have incorporated our curriculum into our door classroom. For example, for the building study, we made a city out of cardboard in the messy area with boxes and other materials. The teachers show a sense of pride in caring for our nature explore classroom as well as a sense of freedom and peace while exploring and teaching. The parents are also encouraged and very eager to assist in activities that we’ve done in our outdoor classroom.

As stated above what makes our classroom special and unique, is our location, community and how we band together for one cause. To keep our classroom a success. Our successes include, staff and student development. Year round education and understanding of natural materials, farming, also exploring animals and insects in their natural habitat. We’ve successfully cultivated our garden and greenery over the past few years. With help from the staff, parents and volunteers.

The activities that have been presented and conducted are tremendously engaging. Painting, using shrubbery grass and sticks and building fairy houses using cones, stones leaves and woodchips. Math activities with the use of counting rocks and twigs. Even using the ants and various bugs that coincide with our other curriculum. Our virtual field trip and visit from the arborist was one of our favorite moments. He discussed who he was and what the role of an arborist is. There were tons of back and forth dialogue with our students. We’re even planning an in -erson field trip.

This winter we received an amazing donation of Christmas trees from the local supplier in our community. We spoke to the children about the pine trees in transport and how to care for it. They were even able to make or bring ornaments from home to decorate it.

In conclusion our future plans are to continue to host our annual events, consisting of outdoor trainings, plantings, beautification days all while encouraging parents and the community to assist, be a part and donate to our school. This will also assist us in maintaining our outdoor.