The Nature Explore Classroom at
Live and Learn Early Learning Center
During the past year, Live & Learn Early Learning Center has continued to observe and grow with the children's use of the Nature Explore Classroom. A drumming area was also added using recycled materials.
The Mud Digging Area continued to be a favorite cool down and creation area and was a great place to celebrate International Mud Day.
With 3 outdoor classrooms at Live and Learn, there are always additions or rebuilding projects taking place. The following shows changes this past year.
|Infant/Toddler||Fenced Classroom||Outside the fence|
|Ramp from ship area repurposed for a bridge||New Creative Art Expression Area||Dramatic Play Kitchen Area|
|Maple tree added||Storage unit added for extra materials||New plantings of pasture rose and barberry bush|
|Herbs added||pergola||Downed tree table|
|New books||Boulders added to Ship Area||Downed tree climbing additions|
|Drumming Area with recycled materials||Wooden platforms added for learning areas|
|Broomcorn and buckwheat added|
|Apple tree/cherry tree planted|
It is important that the Live and Learn children and families continue to be a part of planting to gain a sense of caring for not only plants, but the whole earth, as well as to be exposed to native plants and unusual plantings they may not yet know. This past year, broom corn and buckwheat were added.
For Arbor Day, a center wide celebration was held where all children helped plant three apple trees and a cherry tree. To celebrate Earth Day, painted lady butterflies, hatched on-site, were released. Summer Camp for school-aged children happens totally outdoors. Partnering with the extended year special education program, an inclusive nature based program was created that hopefully will become a model for other districts.
This year, to add fun to the gardening projects, each classroom was challenged to have their gardens follow a children's book. The books chosen were: Peter Rabbit, Tops & Bottom, Linea in Monet's Garden and The Lorax. This direct connection between literacy and gardening was fun and engaging for the children.
This year, the ground area under the large tent was re-worked to make the area maintainable. Four wooden floor areas were added to provide learning areas.
To increase awareness and share knowledge and ideas, Live and Learn planned, implemented and hosted the Sense of Place Conference with David Sobel as the Keynote speaker. In addition, staff completed many nature education workshops.
Because Johanna and her daughter Sarah provide training all over the nation to other early childhood educators, innovative training was repeated at Live and Learn this year. A second annual training called Outside In; Learning that comes Naturally was created that teachers could attend with their children. Live and Learn staff engaged children in nature art activities while teachers attended training. The last half hour, everyone came together to participate in nature-based, outdoor creative art that touched all areas of curricula.