It Takes a Village, a Hampton Bays-based preschool, has earned national recognition as a Certified Nature Explore Classroom from the Nature Explore program, which is a collaboration of Dimensions Educational Research Foundation and the Arbor Day Foundation. This certification brings upon a number of benefits, including membership in an ever-expanding network of more than 340 like-minded spaces nationwide. These Certified Nature Explore Classrooms foster highly effective, nature-based outdoor learning.
“It Takes a Village’s commitment to providing research-based and nature-rich learning offers a wonderful example to programs and educators throughout the country,” explained Heather Fox, Director of Communications and Outreach for the Nature Explore program. “These spaces inspire hands-on activity, creativity, play and plenty of time exploring the natural world.”
These unique, outdoor classrooms provide interactive elements like musical instruments made of natural materials, garden or pathway areas, and natural materials for building and creating art. You can find these outdoor classrooms popping up across the country.
“From the start of our program in 2015, an outdoor classroom was always our goal, so we are so proud and excited for our children to experience the benefits this year,” said Maryann McCormack, one of the Founders of It Takes a Village. “Our mission is to help foster the relationship between child and nature every day.”
Research shows that children exhibit enhanced concentration, develop creativity and problem solving techniques, manage stress in healthy ways and develop skills when learning and growing in Nature Explore Classrooms.
“We wanted to bring learning and exploration to the outside,” added McCormack. “The children spend a lot of their day in our outdoor classroom regardless of the weather!”
These classrooms were developed by a team of master educators, landscape architects, and researchers in response to the documented growing disconnect between children and nature.
It Takes a Village is currently offering open enrollment and runs September through June, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They have two classrooms and accommodate three and four-year-olds.
It Takes a Village is located at 158 West Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays. For more information about It Takes a Village, visit natureexplore.org. For more information on the Arbor Day Foundation, visit www.arborday.org.