Our goal is to increase the number of Certified Nature Explore classrooms in the state of Indiana. This will be a collaborative effort between Indiana AEYC and its state-wide Chapters, Dimensions Education Programs and Nature Explore.
The Nature Explore Program offers national outdoor classroom certification that recognizes schools, child care centers, family child care homes and other organizations that have committed to providing nature-rich outdoor classrooms and comprehensive programming that utilizes the natural world as an integral part of learning. The Indiana AEYC in collaboration with participating Chapters is offering the Nature Explore training that leads to Nature Explore certification. The certification process in its entirety will be shared during the training. Nature Explore certifies any organization that meets the following standards:
1. Well-designed outdoor space
2. Staff Development
3. Family & Community engagement
Research demonstrates that children spending regular time in intentionally designed, nature-rich learning environments facilitate better social and physical development; improves fitness, motor skills, and emotional well-being; supports creativity; reduces violence and bullying; and decreases stress levels. Such outdoor classrooms also foster skills as critical thinking and problem-solving; science, language and literacy, the arts, math, visual-spatial learning, construction and engineering skills.