Nature Explore Classroom at
The Spark Center
Throughout the year, Spark Center at Boston Medical Center continues to work on the maintenance of the Nature Explore Classroom.
Students from Milton Academy volunteered their time to prepare the grounds for winter. In the Spring, in-kind services (tutoring) were traded with a young man to set up the NEC each morning and put everything away in the afternoon.
Mentoring others is a wonderful way to share the enthusiasm and joy found within the Nature Explore Classroom. Spark staff gave a tour of the Nature Explore Classroom to a local daycare that is hoping to do a similar project at their own site.
A graduate student interning at Spark researched, created and presented curriculum ideas for the Nature Explore Classroom. Following through with the curriculum ideas, wildflowers were planted in the garden to attract butterflies and a hummingbird feeder was installed on a feeder pole.
Therapeutic garden planter boxes were designed to be used as a butterfly garden, vegetable/fruit and herb garden. There is a rotating garden care/chore chart to teach the children responsibility and turn taking.
In the area of trees beyond the therapeutic garden, the children can hang birdfeeders that they make in classroom activity time. They create bird watching journals that they can use to document which birds and wildlife they see.
In June, one of the co-directors passes away suddenly. The Nature Explore Classroom served as a peaceful setting for a remembrance service of Dennis Lucyniak. Families, friends, co-workers and the children attended this celebration of life. Dennis loved to read to the children, so a bench in a shaded, quiet area of the garden, called the Book Nook, was dedicated to him as a fond and healing memory.
Family engagement activities are held in the outdoor classroom throughout the year. These included an open house; inviting current and prospective parents to tour the Center, hosting the NE Aquarium Traveling Tide Pool exhibit and the annual graduation ceremony. The stage area is fast becoming everyone's favorite place.
During the International Mud Day Celebration, the Open Area was turned into a mud pit! A truck load of dirt was brought in, water added and with children, teachers and parent participatingâ€¦it was a great success!