nature-centered

"Nature-centered" means that we focus on spending time outside discovering, exploring, learning about and loving nature.  Our outdoor classroom offers an extensive array of curriculum activities.  In fact, we've structured the environment so that everything we do inside can be done outside.  Part of what we teach children in our outdoor classroom is to see what isn't there, understand what's happening beneath the surface, to respect all living things, and tonotice beauty in everything.  Read more about our outdoor classroom philosophy by visiting our Outdoor Classroom Project page on our site to learn why we are a certified Demonstration Site in the Network of Outdoor Classroom Programs.
 
 
What's Not There? Well...it's there, but you need a magnifying glass to see it!  We help children learn to take a closer look by providing equipmentopportunities, and freedom to explore, discover, and learn. Children's imaginations soar when they realize there's more than meets the eye in nature.
 
 
What's Going On Underneath?  It's just dirt...isn't it?  Actually, NO!  It's home to countless bugs and critters!  It's also filled with minerals and nutrients that are vital to growing food.  When it's wet, it is called mud and is soft, squishy, cold, messy, slippery, and FUN!  When it's dry, it is called dirt and is hard, warm, dusty, small and easy to walk on.  Just dirt? We think not! 
  
 
All living creatures...plants, animals, humans, deserve to be valued and admired.  All creatures have a purpose in life and deserve to be respected, cared for, loved, and nurtured.  Granted, it's easier to love a sweet-smelling rose than it is to love the HUGE brown garden spider that conveniently made his home just outside the door to the Green Group classroom! The rose is aesthetically appealing, provides health benefits (rose oil/hips, skin care, vitamins), and some believe the rose reduces stress! Our huge and hairy friend Mr. Spider provides critical contributions in controlling insects in our wonderful 100% organic garden.  And best of all...no thorns! 
 
There's Beauty In EverythingBy teaching that all living things have beauty, we help children understand that all things have value.  When all things are valuable, they learn
 
to explore and discover their self-worth. If we can care for a slug under a rock, a tiny flower, a bug crawling on a wall, we can certainly care for each other!  Life is precious.  We learn to value nature by recycling, planting, picking up litter, watering plants, letting Ladybugs go free, being watchful of Rollie Pollies, and daily seeing the beauty of nature.