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Nature Explore Certified Classroom

welcome to our

We transformed our two play-yards into,
"Nature Explore Certified Classrooms".


The yards are rich in diverse offerings for children to continue their
learning as they enter the outdoor classroom.

Art, music, loose parts for building, digging areas, natural plantings
and addition of water sources are just some of the components

that we have added to enhance the health,

vitality and natural play for the children we serve!



"Childhood has changed.American kids now spend 27 percent of their time with electronic media: video games, television, computers, and recorded music.

Green Hearts and the Jeffers Foundation's booklet,A Parent's Guide to Nature Play

our goal

Our main project goal was to create outdoor environments that provide children daily opportunities to access nature play as an integral part of their learning. These daily encounters differ from simply going on an outing or arriving at a destination for a visit.


Here, we create the environments for the child to be fully immersed in uninterrupted play, freely moving from one area to the next.

the impact

  • To Inspire the next generation of tree planters and environmental stewards.

  • Create new experiential learning opportunities for children to enhance important observation and problem-solving skills.

  • Provide places for stimulating, hands-on, spontaneous outdoor play.

  • Positively influence children, families, and communities.

what we gain

  • Enhanced observation skills.

  • Improved fine motor skills

  • Improved concentration (especially beneficial for children with ADHD)

  • Greater recovery from cognitive fatigue

  • Reduced incidence of nearsightedness and need for eye glasses  


  • Improved academic performance in reading, writing, math, science

  • Develop an affinity for nature

07172023 Big Yard_Pano.jpg


came to life through
passion, persistence,

grant funding and donations

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We have implemented fifteen Guiding Principals of  the Nature Explore Certified Classroom 


Entry feature

An open area for large motor activities 

A climbing/crawling area

A "messy materials" area

A building area

A nature art area

A music and movement area

A garden area

A gathering area

Storage areas specific to individual area

Water Area, Dirt Digging Area, Sand Area,
Wheeled-Toy Area, Swings and other dynamic equipment

Messy Materials

Our Messy Materials area promotes imagination, experimentation and critical thinking skills. Our large building platform steps down into a sandpit specifically designed to extend the play. Logs, blocks, rocks, poles and lumber are stored in the area but adults and children alike add more loose parts regularly like found sticks, branches, stones and even seasonal pumpkins. Coffee cans, tubes and tires also make amazing construction materials. This area encourages, pushing, pulling and lifting which is the “heavy work” of the child.


As children grow and develop, they need to successfully master physical challenges in order to gain self confidence and a sense of control over their environments. Learning how to maneuver their bodies by climbing, crawling, rolling and dangling develops their vestibular and proprioceptive input which is essential to perfecting their strength, agility and movement in the world around them.