The Nature Explore Classroom at WestLake Child Development Center
WestLake Child Development Center continues to use their outdoor classroom as an extension of the indoor classroom with curriculum and activities planned for the children.
All areas of the outdoor space continue to meet all 10 guiding principles with a complete mix of activities. All areas are marked with clear paths and signage plus the added feature of Texas trees and shrubs. The area is maintained monthly by a Master Garden teacher with additional help from an onsite landscape company that maintains all the grounds on BP campus.
Professional staff development this year included staff attending the NAEYC Conference 2013. Additionally, Darla Fontana, WestLake Director, presented "Dig a Little Deeper" at the NAEYC Conference. This presentation discussed the importance of incorporating curriculum activities into the garden experience. The Nature Explore Classroom continues to meet all state minimum standards and NAEYC regulations as necessary for the space.
WestLake CDC has hosted many seasonal events that have highlighted the Garden Area. Families were invited to explore the garden and pick fresh herbs and vegetables during the Spring Family Picnic and Earth Day. WestLake's favorite event, the Mother's Day Event, found moms and children in the garden engaged in garden lessons and special activities. Children visit the garden during the summer and pick vegetables and place a basket of fresh vegetables at the front desk for parents to take home and enjoy. During the Pumpkins in the Garden Event, children & parents are invited to visit the garden, take pictures and take a pumpkin home. A Back to School Open House provides parents information about all the great things offered at WestLake, including the garden program and the ECO Healthy.