The Nature Explore Classroom at
Sikeston University Child Development Center

Southeast Missouri State University


The Nature Explore Classroom at Sikeston University Child Development Center is right in line with their philosophy.

Art Area

Supporting positive development by providing stimulating learning environments with rich opportunities for growth and discovery is part of the philosophy at the Sikeston University Child Development Center. Developing a Nature Explore outdoor classroom reflects a wonderful commitment to support this philosophy and provide life changing benefits to children each day.

Starting with a plan developed by the collaboration of a Landscape Architect/ Educator team from the Nature Explore program and University staff, the concept of an outdoor classroom slowly materialized.

Natural materials and signage are prominent in the outdoor space while visual clutter is kept to a minimum. Wooden signs, purchased from the Nature Explore Sourcebook, clearly label each area. The classroom is well-maintained to keep it aesthetically pleasing and calming. Arrangements have been made with the University grounds crew for ongoing maintenance while staff and families assist in replenishing the natural materials.

Hardy, native plants and trees are used to divide and accent areas while keeping the space low maintenance. Trees and shrubs were planted in the classroom and materials such as rocks, wooden stumps, limbs, sand and soil are added regularly for play. The children especially like hiding in the tall native grasses.

Each space takes on the look of a separate room with bushes and logs or surfacing changes serving as dividers between areas. These separations prevent activities from interfering with one another and allow children to concentrate in a peaceful environment.

Parents were instrumental in building the Nature Explore Classroom with efforts in spreading topsoil, working to maintain the area, planting, and also in celebrating the successful completion of this beautiful space.