The Natural Classroom is a special and integral part of our OAK class program at Curious Minds Learning Center. We are fortunate to partner with the Richardson Bay Audubon Sanctuary in Tiburon in order to provide this important weekly excursion for our students. First introduced by Michelle Lawton, valued colleague and founder/director of Stretch the Imagination preschool in San Francisco, this program has evolved from our research of Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods and David Sobel’s Childhood and Nature Design Principles for Educators. Their research has shown that children make sense of their world through their outdoor adventures, engaging in physical challenges to develop their sense of confidence and self. Children engage in fantasy play, connect to animal allies, and develop a keen sense of place and comfort by returning again and again to the same, yet different each time, place.
Our mission behind this unique program of connecting children with nature is to give them time to explore freely. As with all elements of our program, the curriculum in the natural classroom is emergent and develops from the observations and interests of the children. Children carry their own small daypack with their snack/lunch and a water bottle.