Your Little Artist Preschool
Entering our second year as a Certified Nature Explore Classroom is very exciting. We have been on many adventures in our outdoor space and are enthusiastic to be outside each day. The past year has been trying through the Pandemic but it’s truly our experiences outside that have kept us motivated & our spirits lifted.
Leaning on the natural elements from the changing seasons in Maine as a foundation for our learning has been an incredible gift. As a creative based program we are frequently using materials such as clay, paint and glue. We leave things outside to come back to each day and watching how the weather changes things gives children (and teachers) an interesting perspective that incorporates STEM, art & nature. This creates engagement and inspires in ways that cannot be recreated inside.
This year I am also a student as well as a teacher, completing requirements for full teacher certification in Maine. I am completing a research project through the University of Maine in Farmington on the benefits of “risky play”. There is not a better place to observe children taking healthy risks than outside on a Nature Explore playground/classroom. Risky play is defined as “thrilling and exciting forms of play that involve a risk” (Sandseter, Kennair p. 258).
Thus far I have observed children’s confidence bloom. After little engagement with peers for many months (due to Pandemic) I have observed children blossom into confident, capable explorers! *Children are supervised in their adventures but supported to try hard things.*
Finally I have to give special thanks!
- Thank you to 5210 Let’s Go! for our grant to purchase Community Playthings outlast blocks. They have been used endlessly in creative construction projects that use gross motor, cooperative & cognitive skills.
- Thank you Maine Roads to Quality for our grant to purchase the play ship & support through cohort toward NAFCC Accreditation.
- Thank you! To all the families who have enrolled their children & supported us each day in our efforts to focus on a natural learning environment in ALL types of weather. Packing those bags of weather appropriate clothing and bringing it home well used at the end of the day is an extra chore for busy parents and we truly appreciate it!
- Thank you to Olson Home Improvements for building our play ship & stage on a budget! And Grady Landscaping for your hard work & creativity in using recycled materials on our play hill & tunnel, building our bridge and maintaining the yard throughout the seasons.
- Finally my most heartfelt gratitude to my supportive husband and children. It’s a family commitment to have a mom, who is a teacher right in your own backyard!
Our program is a group effort and my happiest observation over the past year is of the community that is being built by the combined efforts of all.