Nature Play & Learning Space


An outdoor learning environment connecting children with nature and supporting cognitive, emotional and physical development, the Nature Play and Learning Space provides endless opportunities for children to experience open-ended play that encourages confidence, decision-making, problem-solving, collaboration and so many more intra and interpersonal skills.

All of our First School students are encouraged to engage regularly with the space. Daily schedules are designed with the intention of providing multiple opportunities for classes to spend time outside to explore, experiment, collaborate, and play.

 

Features of the Space

Each element of the playground is thoughtfully designed to support the First School curriculum and highlight the pillars of early childhood education - social/emotional learning, cognitive development and physical development.

  • A sensory garden exposes children to a variety of sights, smells and textures.
  • A textured pathway with objects grouped in sets of 10 creates a unique tactile experience and provides a natural exposure to mathematical patterns.
  • Musical instruments help children understand that space is three-dimensional by listening for and locating sounds in nature.
  • A variety of climbing, sliding, and swinging elements provide opportunities to develop muscle strength and endurance and learn spatial awareness and body control.
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Three First School girls swing in the nest swing in the First School Nature and Play Space
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Head of School Matthew Nespole uses oversized scissor to but the ribbon in the First School Nature and Play Space
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Two African American First School boys line up toy trains on a wooden picnic bench in the First School Nature and Play Space
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A First School girl fills a red bucket with an orange hose in the First School Nature and Play Space
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Two First School girls and two First School boys sit with a female teacher on the bench swing
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A group of First School boys and girls play with toy trucks and shovels in the First School Nature and Play Space sandbox
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A group of First School girls play in a mud puddle in the First School Nature and Play Space
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One First School girl looks on as an Upper School girl plays the xylophone in the First School Nature and Play Space
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Two First School boys sit in wooden crates laughing in the First School Nature and Play Space
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Four First School girls paint with finger paints on the painting wall in the First School Nature and Play Space
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Two First School girls slide down the slide in the First School Nature and Play Space
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Two First School boys dig with their hands and shovels in the wet sandbox in the First School Nature and Play Space
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First School boys and girls eat their lunch at picnic tables under a rainbow canopy in the First School Nature and Play Space
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Two boys balance on the balancing logs in the First School Nature and Play Space

The Nature Play and Learning Space officially opened in Fall 2022. Key was thrilled to partner with Nancy Striniste, the founder and principle designer at EarlySpace, LLC to develop and construct this amazing addition to our campus.