Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom

This outdoor learning environment promotes connecting children with nature and supporting the cognitive, social, emotional and physical development of each student.


children playing in schoolyard

The First School's Nature Explore Outdoor Playground Classroom was planned collaboratively by Key School faculty, Dimensions Education Research Foundation and the National Arbor Day Foundation. 

Foundations for reading and mathematics occur with skill development in visual-spatial awareness. The concept design for Key's playground was developed based on field-tested, research-based principles for creating effective spaces for young children to play in and learn about the natural world.

The Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom is divided into ten delineated activity areas, providing a variety of activities so that young children with a variety of developmental needs and learning styles are engaged. Props and materials in each “area” are changed with the natural occurrence of seasons throughout the school year.

In December 2012, Key's Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom earned the national designation of a Certified Nature Explore Classroom from the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation.

Enjoyed by Key’s youngest children during recess each day, the Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom is regularly utilized to support science classes as well as myriad interdisciplinary curricular projects throughout the year.

Nature Explore Classroom Areas