Research supports the idea that home-like and welcoming preschools reduce stress. These nurturing environments provide a safe place where the child can face challenges, experiment with ideas and obtain the self-confidence required for learning. This classroom model is an intrinsic part of the Reggio Approach where the environment is considered the “third teacher.”
In the Reggio-inspired school, design is both intentional and aesthetic. Laurelwood is more than a home-like space. It is located in a house that has been renovated to include classrooms, an art studio and gathering space that accommodate the standards set for a five-star preschool center.
Located on a one-acre wooded lot, Laurelwood provides children with access to a natural landscape for outdoor play and investigation. Our intention for offering this natural area for your child is to create a context for building relationships with nature and to experience the joys and curiosities of learning outdoors.
Experiences in the outdoor classrooms will include gardening, music, dramatic play, building and art. The children will also have opportunities for daily interactions with sensorial materials outdoors such as sand and water. Your child will experience nature in all weather - rain or shine - observing the beauty and wonder of the natural elements.
Below are links and book referrals that will give you further information on the benefits of having daily experiences in nature:
National Wildlife Federation: Mind Body Spirit Fact-Sheet May 2010
Children and Nature Network: Building a Movement to Reconnect Children and Nature (Taken from the N.C. Division of Child Development Child Care Center Handbook)
Last Child in the Woods
By Richard Louv
Nature Education with Young Children: Integrating Inquiry and Practice
By Daniel R. Meier (Editor), Stephanie Sisk-Hilton (Editor)