Welcome to the Outdoor Classroom!
Studies confirm that play in the outdoors leads children to relax, be happy, and form a bond with the natural world. Outdoor play boosts their physical and mental health, prepares them to learn, and teaches them to love and respect nature!
Can you find the bronze animals hiding in the garden?
Raccoon - Art by Geoffrey Gross
Titmouse and eggs - Art by Geoffrey Gross
Pinacate Beetle - Art by Geoffrey Gross
Deer Mouse - Art by Geoffrey Gross
Horned Toad - Art by Geoffrey Gross
Roundtail Chub - Art by Geoffrey Gross
… what each animal eats … what sounds does it make?
… if the animals were real, how would you get close to them?
… hop on the boulders and walk on the logs; see if you can balance like an ant on a stick.
Animal Tracks Path by Geoffrey Gross
… using the sticks, pine cones, shells, stones, and tree rounds in the baskets to make patterns, build things, and play games.
Art and installation by Geoffrey Gross
Children naturally seek out play that builds skills, develops their bodies and brains, and uses their imaginations. The following "behavioral schema" are ways of growth and development seen in all children, all over the world.
- Transport: carry things in hands or arms, or use a bucket or a wagon.
- Rotate/circulate: spin, run in circles, stir things, roll down hills, watch a spinning object.
- Trajectory: line up objects, walk on a log, balance on a line; drop, toss, or roll things.
- Position: arrange objects or people, including other children; draw, paint, or carve lines and patterns.
- Enclose: cover, wrap, or shelter things, including themselves.
- Connect: connect things to one another with tape, glue, or string.
- Transform: decorate or modify objects.
Rest in nature at the bench, art by Geoffrey Gross
For More Information:
Cities Connecting Children to Nature
Who Made the Outdoor Classroom?
Coconino Parks and Recreation Natural Resource Supervisor Geoffrey Gross created the bronze animals, fish pond, shelves, fence, animal prints in the concrete, and wooden bench.
Eagle Scout candidate Austin Rae sealed and stained the benches, then led fellow scouts and adults in spreading and compacting cinnamon soil on the classroom's "floor."