Nestled among towering oaks and dappled sunshine, the outdoor classroom at Messiah Moravian Church and Preschool provides a welcome respite from the sometime confining walls of a traditional learning environment. Aided by a grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the preschool and church were able to construct a one of a kind outdoor space specifically designed to stretch the imagination and enhance the growth of every student at the school. The US Fish and Wildlife Service partnership with Messiah Moravian has also provided additional educational resources and regional plantings for the Nature Explore classroom.
The highlight of the outdoor classroom is the pollinator garden specifically designed to support the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. The habitat has allowed both teachers and students to walk side by side down the path of natural discovery with hands on teaching and observation. Children are also encouraged to participate in the tending of the butterfly habitat by being active participants in the care of the garden and plants. By caring for the trees and plants in their outdoor classroom, the children are effectively learning the life skills of environmental responsibility and self-confidence, as well as honing their skills of observation.
Additional areas of Messiah Moravian’s outdoor classroom allow the students at the preschool to more deeply explore their creativity. A multiple tiered stage invites children to indulge their dramatic side. The music area is outfitted with a marimba, drums, and chimes, whose sounds can be heard rippling through the space as the children play. Budding architects and engineers stretch their minds and begin experimenting with physics and mathematical concepts while constructing forts and bridges in the messy materials space of the classroom.
One of the most beautiful areas of the classroom is the art area. Wedged into the furthest corner of the classroom space and appropriately shaded by a tree’s sweeping branches, children cannot help but be inspired to create with any and all types of artistic materials. The natural backdrop created by the Nature Explore classroom is an insuppressible beacon for the burgeoning creativity inherent in every young child.
The Nature Explore classroom at Messiah Moravian Church and Preschool is a welcome addition to the residential area where it is housed. Both children who attend the preschool as well as local community members benefit from what the space provides. Continued cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service will help the Nature Explore classroom at Messiah Moravian maintain its presence in the region as a pioneer in the incorporation of nature into everyday childhood learning and discovery.
Learn more at NatureExplore.org
View the Ribbon Cutting of our new classroom!
View our map/plan (PDF).