Nature Explore Classroom at the Missouri Botanical Garden
In the Doris I. Schnuck Children's Garden: A Missouri Adventure
In an area especially focused on introducing young children to the wonders of plants and nature, the Missouri Botanical Garden's Nature Explore Classroom opened on May 5, 2007.
"We are very excited about our role in the growing effort to connect kids with the natural world!"-Dr. Katie Belisle-IffrigManager of Public ProgramsMissouri Botanical Garden
To construct the 3,000 sq. ft. Nature Explore Classroom, Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation staff and consultants helped create a design specifically suited to the Missouri Botanical Garden's needs and to the setting of the Children's Garden.
Children can create visual masterpieces in a nature art area, climb and crawl on structures, build with natural materials, make music with rain sticks and a marimba, and practice their balance, agility, and creativity in areas designed for music and movement.
The Garden plans to use the Nature Explore Classroom for some of their early childhood classes and for holding professional development workshops for local educators. The community has already expressed interest in the Classroom.
The Missouri Botanical Garden Nature Explore Classroom is the first to be constructed at a U.S. botanical garden, and the second to be constructed nationally.
- The Nature Explore Classroom is located at the south end of the Children's Garden.
- Various natural materials define the activity areas, including native Missouri plants, limestone boulders, red cedar logs, and willow fencing.
- Many of the Classroom's natural materials-including tree cookie flooring-were gathered from regional, renewable resources.
- A raised garden bed includes a variety of herbs, vegetables, and child-friendly annuals.
- Some mature trees, such as sycamore and tulip poplar, along with newly planted redbuds, help shade the Classroom area.