The Nature Explore Classroom at
L. Leo Judice Elementary
The Nature Explore Classroom at L. Leo Judice Elementary is located at 5801 Cameron Street in Scott, LA. This is the 1st certified Nature Explore Classroom in Louisiana and the 41st in the nation.
Learning with nature has made a huge difference at this school! The majority of the teachers have been trained in using the Nature Explore Classroom and teachers are incorporating the environment into every aspect of their curriculum to make learning more meaningful and engaging for the students.
To introduce the concept of a Nature Explore Classroom and to get families involved in the idea, a kickoff meeting was held and the Nature Exploreâ„¢ “Learning With Nature” DVD was shown. Families were invited to attend events and to volunteer and help create the outdoor classroom.
The building area and music and movement areas are each covered with cypress arbors. Low maintenance cypress was used throughout the classroom to withstand the Louisiana climate. Large boulders, log benches and stump stools are placed throughout the classroom for seating.
One of many unique gardens has been crafted into the shape of a butterfly to attract children as well as butterflies. Classes were given the task of planning the content of raised bed gardens.
Signs were placed along the pathway to identify each area and also to identify a wide variety of native trees. A display case is provided to highlight information regarding the water area and to include interesting nature facts. A “Family Connection” newsletter is sent home monthly which includes math, science and nature activity ideas that can be done at home.
L. Leo Judice Elementary has taken a number of additional steps to connect students with nature. Every classroom has adopted a friendly pet to care for and enjoy. An annual Louisiana Arbor Day celebration was started, where the students participated in planting trees. With help from the middle school and high school students, as well as the local nature station and Acorns of Hope, the younger students were taught about the importance of trees. The first annual Earth Day celebration was held with the children helping to raise over $1,000 for Audubon Society’s Pennies for the Planet campaign. The school has also initiated a paper recycling program that has already resulted in saving 225 trees over the last two years.