Star Child Nature School teaches using an outdoor environment and natural materials rather than worksheets and walls. We take a gentle approach to learning, bridging Kindergarten readiness with the need for young children to have ample time to play freely and grow socially. "Nature School" or "Nature Based Education" is an approach to learning that is child-led and educational goals are met through experiences in nature. Connecting children with the natural world fosters compassion and reverence while participating in purposeful activities builds self-confidence and independence. Environmental education, fostering a respect for and a curiosity about the plant, animal and mineral kingdoms and developing all domains of the child (physical, social, emotional, cognitive, aesthetic and spiritual) through multi-sensory experiences are at the heart of our program. Fully immersive outdoor play develops not only the five senses (hearing, seeing, touching, tasting and smell) but all eight which include the vestibular system (body movement), proprioception (body awareness) and interoception (condition of the body). Each of which is needed for young children to thrive.
Fine motor skills are developed using natural elements that also encourage imaginative play
Discovering a box turtle in the woods promotes observation and artistic opportunities
Scissor skills can be practiced using unconventional materials that offer a variety of textures requiring greater manipulation
Letters and Lines, Numbers and Nature are brought together through
Letter and number recognition are done with objects such as bricks to encourage fine and gross motor skills
Offering a variety of materials allows for creativity both academically and imaginatively
Line and letter writing in mud incorporates a lesson in both science and literacy
Real Life Experiences and a Sense Of Accomplishment
Using a hammer and nails builds strength, hand-eye coordination and perseverance
Sawing a fallen branch can bring a sense of purpose and pride while fostering concentration
Loose parts play offers the opportunity to build, create, overcome challenges and problem solve
Artistic opportunities vary from both open-ended to purposeful
Weaving fosters hand-eye coordination, math concepts and fine moter skills
Free painting can be done on anything from trees, bark and leaves to bricks and wood stumps, each bringing a new perspective and feel to artwork
Creating useful items that can be worn or used promotes pride and a sense of accomplishment
"Hurt no living thing, ladybird nor butterfly nor moth with dusty wing, nor cricket chirping cheerily nor grasshopper so light of leap, nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat, nor harmless worms that creep" christina rossetti
One of the biggest components of Star Child is to encourage a relationship with native insects and wildlife, not only to discover the natural world and its wonders, but to plant the seeds of patience, empathy and compassion
A favorite activity is discovering wildlife
The excitement of the find is soon replaced by the compassion of gently handling something so much smaller than ourselves
Nature lets us be a part of something bigger than ourselves. It lets us feel special
Children like to feel needed and useful. Preparing snack, readying and harvesting from the garden, raking leaves and building structures provide tangible results, a sense of community and pride in a job well done
Healthy organic snack and lunch are prepared daily with the children's help, should they choose.
Enjoying fresh vegetables and fruits from the garden offers an appreciation of where the food we eat comes from
Children will imitate that which they see, caring for the environment we work and play in encourages little ones to do the same
Imaginative play is an important part of childhood, building social and emotional skills
Open ended materials, those that do not dictate what they do or look like, encourage creative play
Structures are offered that invite imaginative play such as with the creation of this bug house
Simple but sturdy bakeware and bowls take the place of plastic toys.
What does a nature based program teach young children...
Children are children, not little adults, and should be treated as such. All children should be allowed the opportunity to grow, explore, discover, create, imagine, feel and thrive in nature. "The world doesn't want to be saved, it wants to be loved. That is how we save it." April Peerless