“Early experiences with the natural world have been positively linked to the sense of wonder. This way of knowing, if recognized and honored, can serve as a life-long source of joy and enrichment, as well as an impetus or motivation, for further learning.”
- Ruth A. Wilson, The Wonders of Nature: Honoring Children’s Ways of Knowing
Maharishi Preschool has created a beautiful outdoor play area, a nationally certified Nature Explore Classroom from the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. Research suggests that the benefits of children having positive experiences with the natural world include an increased sense of wonder, creativity, observation skills, and environmental awareness. Offering a cornucopia of play possibilities, this aesthetically pleasing outdoor space provides hands-on nature experiences so often missing in our children’s fast paced world. Children experience a variety of adventures — from riding wheeled toys, to being a pretend fairy or sailor on the amphitheater stage, to climbing through the willow tunnel. Thoughtful landscaping, with use of beautiful foliage chosen for durability and low maintenance, draws birds and butterflies to the area and provides up close discovery of the diversity in nature.
Artistic expression abounds in this creative corner where children observe, build, and design from the intricate details of nature. Area includes cupboards to store nature’s treasures, such as shells, acorns, pinecones, pods, etc., that change seasonally.
In this area, children dig and play with sand, water, and other natural materials. Highlighting this area is a 75-gallon in-ground rain barrel that catches water from the roof, and recycles over beautiful stone slabs by children pumping a child-sized, old-fashioned red pump. Children also use this area to water nearby vegetable gardens and flower beds.
This green open-spaced area provides opportunities for large motor activities, including running, jumping, and dancing. Edged by a dwarf apple tree and strawberry bed, children can also relax and enjoy nature.
An outdoor multi-level stage where children perform, make music, dance, and sing. The stage is equipped with colorful scarves and many natural musical instruments, including a beautiful set of five tuned drums.
This area features log steps, tree stumps, and natural balance beams where children can master physical challenges and gain self-confidence. Also featured is a swing set and a double in-ground slide.
An eco-friendly cob playhouse designed by our older students and constructed from all local materials, including sand, straw, and clay. Two living roofs are host to edible strawberries and sedum in a variety of colors. The exterior has been beautified by local artists who created designs embedded with natural stones and colorful glass. This cottage has become a kitchen, a fort, a hideaway, a ship, and so many other imaginative play spaces.
A magical place for creative play and exploration, set in a beautiful forest-like shade garden. The "fairy circle" has hand-painted mushroom stumps, created by the older students, enhancing the woodlands effect.
A seasonal garden, with a pathway through native prairie plantings. This area is enhanced by birdhouses and mosaic stepping stones made by the children during a community workday.
Maharishi School Nature Explore Day Camp is our Summer Program for children 4-10 years old. More
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Many clips are available on www.oprah.com/OWN from "America's Most Unusual Town" which aired on March 25, 2012. Here is the clip about Maharishi School>>