Colorado's 1st Nature Explore Classroom, Old Town Ft Collins

Wondrous play opportunities abound daily at
Theresa Jekel Family Child Care.

Children explore water as it trickles through their toes. The discovery of a cloud monster in the sky produces a "ROAR!" within the group. Favorite winter activities include running through puddles after a mid-winter snow melt, rolling snowballs through the snow to make a long awaited snowman, forming an angelic snow angel or sculpturing an icicle ice-scape. There is always delight in finding a roly poly, a wiggly worm, or a slimy slug.

On Earth Day, the children engaged in the preparation and planting of new plantings of cinnamon, basil and dill in the scent-sation garden. They have also created delicious mud pies, mint brownies, and chocolate muffins; unearthed seashells, shark teeth, crystals and geodes in a custom made sluice.

Nature oriented outings include walks where treasures were gathered and used to produce one-of-a-kind artwork. The children enjoyed field trips to The Gardens at Spring Creek and the Museum of Discovery, where they were blown away in the tornado chamber.



Nature Explore
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After attending the Nature Inspired Indoor Environments workshop, it was time to bring nature indoors! To reduce inside noise, two full-length glass doors were installed allowing maximum natural lighting. Warm, neutral colors accent the walls now and a natural bamboo window treatment was added. A custom made dress up carousel, modern artwork display and an old school green chalkboard were added along with numbers, alphabets, colors and shapes in natural settings. Other new additions include an eco-friendly dollhouse with a wind turbine and solar panel, wooden building blocks and sensory blocks and vehicles. Finally, a framed, fine art poster of Play is the Highest Form of Research, by Albert Einstein, compliments of Russ and Andrea Schumacher's cash contribution was added to complete the indoor environment. I think everyone is truly enjoying the new indoor noise (or lack of it).

Theresa JekelOwner, Theresa Jekel Family Child Care

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