The Nature Explore Classroom at Aurora Cooperative Preschool
Through discussions and input obtained from families, a decision was made to concentrate efforts to develop a Nature Explore Classroom into the existing outdoor playground at Aurora Cooperative Preschool.
This was the perfect setting to incorporate specifically designed areas and open-ended natural materials.
Community awareness of this project and its importance to the children are communicated through local newspaper articles while the monthly newsletter keeps parents informed on classroom activities and requests for volunteer service.
The Nature Explore Classroom has been personalized with regional plantings, flowers, shrubs and many large donated and cut maple tree trunk sections from a local fallen tree. Fountain grass has been planted against the chain link fence to soften the area while natural reed fencing and stepping stones add natural texture and earth tone colors.
Aurora Cooperative Preschool would like to thank the family of Jake Kohler and Terry McHone of Proflo Seamless Gutters for the installation of the rain barrel. The children have really enjoyed the addition of water on the playground and they have been thinking of imaginative ways for its use. Their interest prompted the purchase of watering cans, troughs, rain gauges and thermometers. Also, a thank you goes out to the family of Gavin Owens for the donation of the shepherds hooks.
All contributions have enhanced the outdoor learning environment and have helped to address the concerns stated by Sanjay Gupta MD and Elizabeth Cohen in the April 2, 2012 addition of CNN Health that nearly half of 3 to 5 year olds are not taken outdoors every day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children play outside as much as possible, but for at least 60 minutes a day.