The Program

 

Philosophy.


We believe that the role of early care and learning professionals is to understand children and families in the context of where they are today and to provide the support and encouragement necessary to further their growth and development. Relationships are at the heart of all that we do.

We believe in responsive caregiving, which fosters the physical, cognitive, and socioemotional development that positively transform children’s early years. Within a program, children and their families become part of a community and we believe that it is within this community that they should find safety, respect, and a network of support. Small group size and continuity of care allows caregivers to build relationships with children and families that are truly meaningful and impactful.

We are devoted to creating spaces for children where they can independently construct knowledge and understanding of the world. We are dedicated to allowing them to forge a connection with nature which will further their learning in sciences, maths, literacy, as well as their physical and socioemotional capabilities… for life! We support lifelong learning!

We believe children are capable and competent unique individuals who deserve to be treated with respect and care. We believe in giving children time to immerse themselves in play and discovery, and we believe in exploring alongside them.

We believe in intentional and reflective teaching, which allows us to create optimal curriculum.

 

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Outdoor Classroom.

 

Outdoor play provides essential support for children’s health and wellness, including brain development, social and emotional development, appropriate risk assessment, gross and fine motor development, coordination, and self-confidence. As they play outdoors, children observe physics, geometry, biology, botany, and so much more.

 

A growing body of research demonstrates how physical activity activates the brain. We know that young children learn best by DOING. Their interactions with the natural world provide invaluable opportunities for growth and learning. As educators, we carefully scaffold their language development and cognition, while supporting meaningful relationships.

 

Do we take risks? We sure do! Science has shown us that risk assessment is invaluable in early childhood. So we climb trees, we jump, and we explore things up close. Are we reckless? No. We talk about danger and about limits. But we know that children thrive and grow into capable, responsible adults when they have the opportunity to experience natural consequences and the sense of mastery that comes only from true struggle.

 

“Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.”

- Bradley Millar

 

Our herb gardens include rosemary, lavender, thyme, mint, oregano, and multiple types of sage which are all safe for children to touch, feel, smell, and taste.

 

Animals we may observe at different times in our outdoor classroom will include butterflies, bees, crickets, grasshoppers, rolly pollies, spiders, lizards, rabbits, cats, dogs, squirrels, raccoons, possums, and at least fourteen species of birds including finches, hummingbirds, scrub jays, juncos, and crows. We are proud to be an official Monarch Butterfly Waystation.

 

Our fruit trees include: mandarin orange, navel orange, valenica orange, cara cara orange, meyer lemon, eureka lemon, mexican lime, guava, cherimoya, loquat, fig, grapfruit, apricot, persimmon, einstein apple, sundowner apple, olive, artic glow nectarine, mariposa plum, santa rosa plum, and  asian pear. We also grow blackberries and grapes.

 

We have eleven raised garden boxes in which we raise seasonal vegetables.

 

We joyfully invite all families to join us in gardening!

 

Our classroom philosophy is that nearly anything we can learn indoors can be better learned outside! Whether we’re reading books under a tree, finding bugs under a rock, crawling through a jungle of herbs, or climbing a tree, we embrace the process and the potential.

 

We get messy. We play in the rain. Sometimes we even sleep outside! It’s great to be a kid at Nature’s Explorers.

Social Media.

We invite you to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to gain more insight as to our daily program happenings.

http://www.facebook.com/natureplaythousandoaks

http://www.instagram.com/natureplaythousandoaks