The Nature Explore Classroom at
University of California-Davis
Early Childhood Laboratory School
Center for Child and Family Studies
During the first year after certification, UC Davis Early Childhood Laboratory School focused on developing a system for maintenance.
Repositioning and moving items throughout the space and including a few new additions were ideas discussed last September and implemented during the year. The preschool program coordinators have also added indoor/outdoor components to their classes.
Each spring and fall, parents and staff participate in Saturday workdays to accomplish the majority of maintenance tasks such as pruning shrubs and trees, weeding, replacing dead plantings and repairing any broken items. Each family spends a total of six additional hours on tasks that are listed monthly on the parent bulletin boards in the classrooms.
With the belief that observation is the first and perhaps the most important step in the scientific inquiry process, a student intern takes small groups of children outdoors to engage in science-oriented activities. This allows for more in-depth exploration of topics. Noticing that the children are very interested in projects involving water, it was decided that the next big project will involve a water feature.
Information about opportunities and activities in the Nature Explore Classroom are dispersed through flyers, quarterly and weekly parent newsletters, and biweekly Head Teacher documentation emails to parents.
Teachers and staff attended a Supporting Constructive Play in the Wild workshop presented by Director, Janet Thompson.