The Nature Explore Classroom at St. Francis Episcopal Day School
At St. Francis Episcopal Day School each teacher includes a minimum of one lesson per week in the outdoor classroom "The Woods".
Pre-Primary class students observe, explore and develop their discovery skills in the classroom. The Kindergarten Science curriculum is based on the Living Earth, which utilizes the garden area constantly. The Woods is also used for many outdoor worship opportunities with young families and youth.
A large set of chimes in pentatonic bass and soprano scales were added this year. A new wind vane sculpture called "The Double Helix" was also added which allows students to observe the power of the wind and carry out wind experiments.
A parent shared a great experience he had with his son in Primary I. The child was so excited to walk him through The Woods one afternoon to show him a chrysalis and explain to him what was going to happen next!
Alumni of the school are very active at St. Francis. The butterfly garden, in The Awakening garden area, is being expanded by an alumnus for a Girl Scout Gold Award project. She is teaching lessons on the life cycle of a butterfly. Another alumnus is building benches and an outdoor weather station for his Eagle Scout project and recruiting families to help.
Continuing staff professional development included a faculty inservice, involvement in the Houston Area Association of Educators of Young Children, a presentation at the National ERB Conference entitled Journey to Outdoors to Lead & Learn and two area school tours.