Outdoor preschool connects kids to nature

Kinderberry Hill Child Development Center in Roseville is teaching kids about nature in their new outdoor classrooms.

ROSEVILLE, Minn. - Schools are out and summer is in full swing, but some parents still have a tough time getting their kids to go outside to play.

That's why one preschool in the metro is helping to reintroduce kids to the world around them. Kinderberry Hill Child Development Center in Roseville is teaching kids about nature in their new outdoor classrooms.

"Having them learn hands on and in a natural environment, I feel as a teacher, is the best way," said Katie Xiong, a teacher at the school.

The teachers say research shows that there is a disconnect between kids and nature, as kids instead become more intrigued by technology.

That's why they decided to become certified in the Nature Explore program, recently receiving national recognition as a certified Nature Explore classroom at their Roseville and Plymouth locations.

The unique outdoor classroom curriculum includes kids playing musical instruments made of natural materials, gardening, and working on art projects using natural materials.

"We had to have certain areas like the climbing area, an art area, a place for dramatics like the music and theater and also the loose parts area for building and problem-solving skills and garden area and a place for them to explore in mud and dirt," said Xiong.

Teachers are hoping that starting kids at this young age will keep them connected to the outdoors.

The program also includes perks like enhanced concentration, creativity, problem-solving skills and stress management.

"You can just literally see the light bulbs going on as they are making connections that they are learning outdoors," said Xiong.

Kinderberry Hill is in the process of constructing outdoor classrooms at their four other locations so they can also become Nature Explore certified. They hope to have that certification by the end of this summer.

The classrooms will remain open even during the winter months.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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