The Nature Explore Classroom at Mid-Island Y JCC Early Childhood Center
In the Nature Explore Classroom of the Mid-Island Y JCC, Shalom Bridge welcomes children into the Outdoor Explorium.
The Hebrew word, shalom, which means hello, goodbye and peace is used for this special Entry Way feature.
This space was completed by a parent committee who helped raise funds and parent volunteers who aided in construction efforts. Tree cookie plaques serve as reminders of the physical and/or financial contributions made by families.
Classroom components are primarily of natural wood and designed for outdoor use. Items not designed for outdoor use are stored in reclaimed metal trash cans which have been transformed into weather-resistant storage canisters. The greenhouse was constructed for year-round use to help sustain in gardening efforts during the summer months.
Bird feeders, wind chimes and tiny wind mills were created by children in the early childhood center using natural, regional materials. An existing tulip tree "the giving tree" is used as a focal centerpiece for the classroom and an inspiration for the Artists' Area.
An open house for families was held at the back-to-school night, where families were encouraged to participate in "explore time". Weekly photos are posted on the secure parent website, which is viewed by approximately 300 families throughout the week.