A Novel Thought: Letting Kids Explore Nature During Vacation at the Garden Education Center

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Director of Youth Programs, Deanna Novak shows off some of the projects the children enjoy at the Garden Education Center. Credit: Leslie Yager

Nature initiates the themes, and children see where their imaginations take them! At the Garden Education Center’s Sprouts & Seedlings nature week, explorations develop scientific observation skills, problem solving, logic and reasoning, and positive outdoor memories.   The week of enrichment builds social skills in guided searches and during valuable imaginative play at nature stations.

dramatic play:  Are those mossy patches homes for fairies and gnomes?   Is that wooden bench a farmers market, kitchen, or greenhouse?  Nature brings the props, everyone brings their ideas!

arts and crafts:  There’s always a way to get crafty with natural materials!  Children use their hands to build on thematic stories.

building area:  Soil, sun, winds, water, and woods all inspire engineering with sticks, blocks, and other manipulatives.

writing and science journals:  Literacy is scattered throughout the day, from stories and table time activities to trail and pack labels.

The program supports an ever-growing vocabulary, and curious minds love to read, naturally!

Enrollment is open for the Garden Education Center’s Nature Play week timed for Greenwich Public School vacation week.

Register for “Sprouts and Seedlings” Feb. 9 – 13,  from 9:15 am – Noon, Ages 3-8. Pre-Register by January 28

Through daily hikes to the pond, garden, or forest trail, the focus is on full sensory experiences that respect each individual’s natural pace, and honor best practices in developmentally appropriate early-childhood education.  The teacher/child ratio is 1:6.

9:00-9:30 sign in and collect observations in our morning activity

9:30-10:30  thematic story, songs, and greetings, outdoor hike and search

10:30 picnic snack

10:45-11:30 guided play at nature stations and free exploration

11:30-12:00 cleanup and share

12:00 Dismissal

Still not sure why it’s so valuable for children to develop their nature brains? Here are five ways your Sprouts & Seedlings are developing their Nature Brains during morning hikes together and time at Nature Play Stations.

The Garden Education Center is located at 130 Bible Street in Cos Cob.

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