Westminster Presbyterian Church Preschool
The Nature Explore Classroom a is a cornerstone of Westminister Presbyterian Church Preschool (WPCP). We have many families where the parent attended WPCP as a child and have returned with their children, and some of the teachers at the school attended WPCP as children!
The outdoor classroom provides the children with opportunities to learn about the natural world and all it has to offer. The enchanted hideway provided by the large weeping mulberry tree changes with the seasons, providing fruit in the spring. The children loved raking the sweetgum leaves in the fall to create giant leaf piles for jumping and tossing leaves! The outdoor classroom attracts many butterflies to lay their eggs and enjoy the flowers, and the children can get up close and personal with caterpillars and butterflies.
The children find new things in the outdoor classroom each day, including worms, mushrooms, and interesting rocks. The teachers follow these interests and engage the children in conversation to learn more. Our apple tree provides fruit in the fall, and the children practice patience as they wait for the apples to become red and ripe. The children can manipulate large items outdoors such as stones, branches, and gutters that make great car tracks. In addition to the natural elements, students also enjoy their favorite manipulatives and art supplies outdoors. The children get messy, run, wonder, and discover in the outdoor classroom.
A new Outdoor Classroom Specialist began at WPCP in July 2022. She updated the outdoor classroom by creating a designated quiet / book area, strengthening the learning opportunities in the “treehouse” area with potted succulents and opportunities to explore the wind, and expanding the block area for loose parts play. The children engage with all their senses outdoors, all while learning communication and social skills, math, science, and early literacy through play.