The Nature Explore Classroom at
Noah's Ark Christian Preschool
At Noah's Ark Christian Preschool and Kindergarten in Barrington, IL, involved parents continue to assist in the maintenance of our outdoor classroom.
Parents spread new mulch every two years and have volunteered to remove invasive species from our Native Prairie on an ongoing basis.
Last fall, Boy Scout Troop 10 performed a major refurbishment as an Eagle Project. Weather-resistant Prairie Plant Identification signs with photographs, scientific and common names were installed at child's-eye-level. A new, child friendly block storage unit was built and two new sets of natural blocks were added to our collection. The scouts created an invasive species identification chart and deeply weeded our Native Prairie. They improved our walkways, rearranged our raised garden beds and replaced the dirt with new, sterile topsoil. The scouts added new stumps and staves to our Messy Materials area and moved our Dirt Digging area in order to extend our Water Play Area.
The school has installed four two-sided easels between our Art and Gathering Areas. These can be used for circle time and various projects. In the spring, we plan to add new piping and gutters to our Water Play collection so the children can build more complex systems.
Our teachers plan extended curriculums for use in the outdoor classroom and have expanded their exploration of nature to include the woods, marshland, and community garden also located on our property. We seek to develop the same valuable skills that we teach in the classroom, social, math, visual-spatial, literacy, gross and fine motor, and science, as well as music and art appreciation -- in the outdoor environment. We believe that by exploring the natural world students achieve a deeper, richer understanding of their learning and become aware of their connectedness to God's creation.
Susan Brown, Director