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Nature Explore Classroom

Nature Explore Classroom
Certified Classroom

Nature Explore Classroom

PURPOSE OF THE NATURE EXPLORE CLASSROOM: Children have meaningful outdoor learning experiences and connect to nature.


Skills and Activity Suggestions


CLOSE OBSERVATION SKILLS: Children find patterns through regular contact with nature. (collect leaves of similar shapes and colors; distinguish between kinds of insects and plants; describe a tree’s attributes using a graphic organizer)


VISUAL SPATIAL SKILLS: Through climbing, building, and creating, children develop the ability to negotiate well in space (using maps; designing and engineering structures) and develop multiple perspectives. (draw a labeled map of the garden; give “docent” tours of the garden; balance on the balance beams; contrast perspectives of the garden ecosystem from different forms of life)


SCIENCE SKILLS: Children classify, predict, experiment, and draw conclusions. (classify and describe attributes of natural objects; experiment with living things - predict   when flowers will bloom/investigate causes of decay of leaves; develop life-science vocabulary surrounded by life cycles)


ART SKILLS: Children sharpen observational skills as they transform 3D objects into 2D works of art. (draw objects using perspective and shading; create structures with fallen leaves, twigs, and seeds; use natural forms as inspiration for creating works of art)


MATH SKILLS: Children count, predict, estimate, and explore measurement concepts using natural objects. (estimate, predict, and measure objects/distances; classify and describe geometric shapes; sharpen number sense with estimation/counting of natural objects)


LITERACY SKILLS: Children develop nature-related vocabulary and vocabulary related to all areas of the curriculum. The space inspires poetry and develops descriptive skills especially useful in using non-traditional methods of reading and writing for children struggling with literacy. (write haikus inspired from the garden environment; discuss and describe natural objects and their relation/importance to each other; read in the garden)


MUSIC & MOVEMENT SKILLS: Children learn about sound, pitch, rhythm, and tonality using instruments made from plant materials, leading to diverse cultural experiences. (use instruments made from plant materials; develop motor movement skills including dance and pantomime that can relate physical movement to language development)


SOCIAL SKILLS (SECOND STEP): The space offers open-ended opportunities difficult to create in the confines of the conventional classroom. With informed guidance, children are more likely to share ideas, negotiate, make decisions, decide on tasks, and problem-solve together in the garden. (affected filter is lowered for many children outside; guided partner and small-group activities involving the garden environment foster language development, community-building and other skills/feelings such as empathy, cooperation, taking turns, sharing, listening, etc.

Expectations: treat the outdoor like your indoor classroom...


*Low voices (classrooms and offices face the garden; loud noise makes it difficult to observe and share verbally, etc.).


*Safety (no running, pushing, standing on the walls, etc.).


*Leave living things in the classroom as you found them (no breaking spider webs; breaking off branches or flowers or seeds; taking insects, etc.).


*Keep the classroom safe and clean (put items back in the boxes; help pick up trash and dead leaves, remind each other to be safe, etc.).


*Purpose, procedures, and rules should be taught on the first visit, observed always, and reviewed when necessary (teachers must run the garden like any other classroom  and inform their students of the purpose, procedures, and rules).


*The classroom must be used in a meaningful way.


*Please share meaningful and engaging acitivity/lesson ideas with other teachers (as well as the Nature Explore Classroom Committee so these can be collected and shared school-wide - mailboxes of Ms. Yani, Ms. Torres, Mr. Ochoa, Mr. Martinez or , Ms. Abramyan).



Nature Explore Classroom Procedures

*Unlock the boxes when you enter and relock them when you leave.  Everyone has the combination.  If not, see Ms. Abramyan. 

   *Classroom should be left as found except for the trash. Trash should be removed.

*Items need to be taken care of and locked up - they are expensive !


More information (lesson ideas, resources, links, mission, etc.):, 1-888-908-8733,



Inventory List (as of 06/2016):


Items                                    Quantities                                                     


Nature Samples                                  Pods, Cones, & Botanicals              



Barkless Tree Blocks                          Set of 36                                           


Baby Tree Blocks                                                                                        


Mini-Bricks                                          Set of 100                                         


Kaleidoscopes                                    Set of 50                                           


Mirrored Observation Trays                Set of 3                                             


Fragile Specimen Viewer                                                                           


Rain Stick                                                                                                   


Lap Drum                                                                                                     


Slap Box                                                                                                     


Pole Trellis                                                                                                   


Drums                                                 35

Drumsticks                                          60






Certified Nature Explore Classroom

Click here to view Nature
Explore Certified Classroom page

Natural Start Alliance

Member Spotlight

This month, meet educators at Hooper Elementary, a large urban elementary school in a high-poverty, high-crime area of Los Angeles. Hooper Elementary was the first school in the district to receive a certified Nature Explore Classroom. "From the youngest of our first graders through our leaders in fifth grade, they worked towards building the muddy patch of struggling grass in front of our main office into an inviting outdoor classroom—a classroom with a welcoming garden in which all have the opportunity to gain love and respect for the natural world."