Nature Explore Classroom at Sunset Vista Community Garden and Learning Center, Inc.
Adding a new element of learning with nature to its rural child care environment, Sunset View Farm, officially opened its new certified Nature Explore Classroom in
October of 2007.
Sunset View Farm is situated on a 20-acre farm, offering an alternative to traditional child care, pre-school, and other specialized children's programs. Unique in its environment, the child care is nestled among many large trees and breathtaking views of the mountains.
Nature Explore Classroom learning spaces were designed to enhance the existing outdoor space, with such additions as tree stump climbers, wood balance beams, and a gathering area surrounded by a white picket fence. The Classroom has integrated the facility's farm-like elements, such as the Activity Barn, four gardens, and a hiking trail, giving children fun and inspiring experiences in nature. Goats, sheep, and chickens reside on the farm, giving the children first-hand opportunities to learn about feeding and caring for live farm animals.
Sunset View Farm's Certified Nature Explore Classroom is the first to be constructed at a child care facility and the third to be certified in the nation.
- The Nature Explore Classroom's entrance, exit, and activity area signs were hand made with tree boards and a wood-burning tool.
- Animals and gardens are all cared for daily by the children and staff.
- Parent volunteers help maintain the gardens and grounds.
- An herb garden, produce garden, butterfly garden, potato patch, and tree nursery give children hands-on experience in plant diversity.
- Varying surfaces and vegetationâ€”including grass, dirt, mulch, woods, and gardensâ€”divide the area into clearly-defined spaces.
- In the spring, children help care for young plants in two small greenhouses.