Nebraska City, Neb. (April 8, 2009) – St. Martin's Episcopal School's Early Childhood Science Lab in Atlanta today announced that its outdoor classroom earned the national designation of a certified Nature Explore Classroom from the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation.
The national certification places the Early Childhood Science Lab in a select circle. It is the first certified Nature Explore Classroom in Georgia, and one of 15 in the United States. The first Nature Explore Classroom is located in the Tree Adventure attraction at Arbor Day Farm, the Arbor Day Foundation's interactive conservation venue in Nebraska City, Neb.
Nature Explore Classrooms are part of the Nature Explore Program, a collaborative project of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. Developed in response to the growing disconnect between children and nature, certified Nature Explore Classrooms are designed to help fill the void by educating young children using research-based principles for integrating nature into their daily learning.
These Classrooms offer interactive elements – including climbing structures, musical instruments made of natural materials, wooden blocks, small waterways, and natural materials for building and creating art – that give children important and inspiring nature experiences. While connecting children with nature, such unstructured play and activities are shown to enhance concentration, develop creativity and problem-solving, relieve stress, and improve skills in many areas.
Outdoor classrooms that are designed according to principles described in the Dimensions Foundation's Learning With Nature Idea Book are eligible to become certified Nature Explore Classrooms.
St. Martin's Episcopal School is located at 3110-A Ashford Dunwoody Road in Atlanta. In its Early Childhood Science Lab's certified Nature Explore Classroom, children can create visual masterpieces in a nature art area, build with natural materials, climb on natural structures, and practice their balance, agility, and creativity in areas designed for music and movement.
"St. Martin's Early Childhood Science Lab has taken an important leadership role in a profoundly needed initiative to connect young children with nature, setting a wonderful example for education centers across the country," said John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Everyone at the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation appreciates the commitment St. Martin's Episcopal School has made to the Nature Explore program and the role that nature plays in the lives of young children."
About St. Martin's Episcopal School: St. Martin's Episcopal School is dedicated to providing a quality education of the whole person in a loving, Christian atmosphere, which fosters lifelong learning. More information about the school can be found at www.stmartinschool.org.
About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit education organization of nearly one million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org.
About Dimensions Educational Research Foundation: Dimensions Educational Research Foundation was formed in 1998 to study how science, math and literacy learning can be enhanced by the addition of more visual-spatial activities into classrooms and homes. For a number of years, the Foundation has conducted and collected research on how children best develop visual-spatial skills and how teachers and families can optimally support this development. Dimensions Educational Research Foundation's goal is to create and deliver unique educational programming to 1) Help people better understand and appreciate the natural world by developing visual-spatial skills; and 2) Improve science, math and literacy learning through visual-spatial skills.