I’ll admit I was somewhat surprised to receive a phone call earlier this month about Funshine Early Childhood in Idaho Falls. It was among the first times we’d been asked about a Nature Explore classroom before even sending out the press release.
Funshine’s certification was definitely news worthy – the center, owned and operated by Kathy Reynolds – is the first Nature Explore Classroom in the state of Idaho.
Nature Explore is a collaborative project of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation developed in response to the growing disconnect between children and nature.
Reynolds began constructing the classroom after attending a Nature Explore training with educational services director Julie Rose. She posted an article in a local magazine, inviting friends, local businesses, civic leaders and the mayor to attend a groundbreaking event at her home, where she shared her vision.
The result is wonderfully captured in last week’s News Channel 6 segment showing children learning and playing in a creative outdoor learning space.
“There is a huge increase in childhood obesity because they are not getting outside,” Reynolds tells New Channel 6′s Summer Joy. She continues:
Unless they are outside learning and exploring a garden or harvesting what we grow, playing on rocks and boulders, balance on logs, they are not going to gain an appreciation for nature. They are the future – they are the ones that are going to be taking care of this world once we are gone and they need to be exposed to it.
We’d be hard pressed to better describe the importance of Nature Explore. View the segment for yourself here.
Photo courtesy of Nature Explore.