At CDS, the inspiring outdoor preschool classroom helps children uncover their creative selves. Did you know that studies indicate that children like to play with natural materials—such as stumps, rocks, sticks, seeds, leaves and pine cones—more than human-engineered playground equipment? In our amazing outdoor learning space the children have access to a fabulous mud kitchen where they create soup, muffins, witches’ brews, potions with native grapes and lilli pilli berries. Under the shade of the elm tree, they construct boats, houses, cars and “Ninja Turtle sewers” and build important planning, teamwork and negotiation skills.
Close by in the farm and garden, children cultivate plants and care for our two sheep, Sunny and Frisco, and their many chicken friends. With weekly visits to this living laboratory, students gain a deep understanding of stewardship, sustainable farming and gardening practices, as they study compost, brush the sheep and explore the worm bin.
Children strengthen skills in mathematics, science, language and literacy, visual-spatial thinking, social interaction and body competence while having fun and developing a profound sense of wonder about the world of nature. Teachers find many opportunities to facilitate exploration outdoors and carefully observe the work of each child. They ask questions to build depth of knowledge and push each child to think and wonder.