Nature & Science Discovery Area
Children explore nature indoors and in the outdoor learning environment on a daily basis. They are encouraged
to investigate natural elements using magnifying
glasses, magnets, hand-held mirrors and pictorial
field guides. Below left, a child uses a mirror to
investigate a butterfly garden.
Above left, a field trip to a classmate's farm
provides a bounty of corn. Nature discovery is often integrated into
curriculum activities, as well. For instance, acorns,
pinecones or locust seed pods are weighed on
balanced scales. Sunflowers are measured with
rulers and yard sticks. Vines from play yard
plants are woven to become "fairy crowns."
Leaves and flower petals are used in art projects.
A garden hose is available for sand box play so
sculptures, shape prints, water canals or "lakes"
are more easily molded. On a rotating basis, many
other sensory nature
materials are introduced, such as sea shells,
rocks and minerals, ornamental grasses and
Above, a child and teacher's aide experiment
with different tools for creating bubbles; an
activity teachers replicated after visiting a
Above is one example of drawing children's
attention to light and reflections. Children
arrange the automotive reflectors backed with
Velcro coins. (An idea staff encountered during a
trip to Chicago Commons early childhood program.)
The effects of light are also highlighted indoors using prisms,
wall mirrors, artwork hung in windows, color
paddles, jars of colored water, reflectors and