The Nature Explore Classroom at

Yuba Environmental Science Charter Academy

The story of our Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom starts with our school mission. Yuba Environmental Science (YES) Charter Academy is a free public school serving students in TK-8th grades. YES focuses on environmental issues that classes address through project-based learning. Children learn to care about the environment by being outdoors in nature. Because of this, we chose the Nature Explore program when we added our 0-4 program, ABC Sprout.

In preparation for developing our outdoor classroom and designing our program, the school ordered educator resources from Nature Explore including Learning With Nature Idea Book, Growing With Nature, and Heart Centered Teaching Inspired by Nature. We also downloaded the free resources, Families Club Kit and Dimensions Research Findings. Our school leaders and the ABC Spout staff were guided by the information.

The school fully embraces the Nature Explore mission of helping children, teachers, and families connect with nature every day. YES created a series of ten films entitled Kids Outdoors to encourage caretakers to take children outdoors every day. Each three-minute film demonstrates a way to engage with children outdoors and focuses on a benefit of spending time outdoors in nature.

We built our outdoor classroom based on Nature Explore principles. A licensed contractor volunteered his labor to install the fencing and gate. Parent and community volunteers worked to install decomposed granite pathways and rock and bark ground cover. School staff installed native plant landscaping. The materials for our small building were paid for in part by a mini grant from First 5. Our 0-4 program, ABC Sprout, is funded in part by a First 5 Resilient Families grant.

Students and their care givers meet at the Outdoor Classroom three days per week for three hours per day. The program is staffed by an early childhood educator and a parent educator. The parent educator schedules workshops for the parents on some days on topics related to child development and engages with parents while at the Outdoor Classroom. The early childhood educator plans the materials and activities available at the nature based play and learning spaces and engages with children while at the Outdoor Classroom.

Hosting the outdoor program gives the ABC Sprout staff and YES staff the opportunity to discuss the benefits to children of being outdoors in nature with caregivers. We are able to share the research from Dimensions Research.


9841 Texas Hill Rd
Oregon House, CA  95962