Kirkwood United Methodist Preschool

Outdoor Exploring Place

Outdoor exploration is a wonderful way to promote children’s learning and appreciation for the natural world. Being outside in nature boasts a wide varitey of benefits. When given the opportunity to explore and play within nature, we are not only allowing children to connect with the Earth, but studies show that outdoor education supports creativity and problem solving, boosts cognitive abiltiies, increases physical activity and promotes love and stewardship of our world.

KUM currently has four areas for nature exploration- The Children’s Garden, two Missouri Native gardens, and the Exploring Place which includes vegetable beds, water play, a digging area and a meeting area.

Outdoor activities include free exploration and play in nature where children can run, roll, climb, dig, and even relax. The children also have the opportunity to investigate plants, insects and animals in their natural habitats and participate in gardening experiences such as planting, weeding, watering, composting, and harvesting. While children are outside, they are also becoming aware of nature’s patterns such as the seasons, weather, plant and animal life cycles.

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

LITZINGER ROAD ECOLOGY CENTER

Some classes participate in a collaborative nature study with the Litzinger Road Ecology Center. Children visit the center and explore the native prairies, woodlands, and creek bed through guided tours. Volunteers from LREC have been an integral part in the development of natural green spaces at KUM Preschool.

GATEWAY GREENING
Gateway Greening is a non-profit organization which supports facilities who utiilze garden experiences in their school curriculum. Grants are offered to schools through their organization. KUM is currently awaiting word of grant approval for new beds and materials for our Exploring Place.
MONARCH WAYSTATION
KUM Preschool’s Missouri Native gardens offer plants such as milkweed, nectar plants and shelter for monarchs. The gardens were recognized as a MONARCH WAYSTATION which ensures the conservation of the monarch butterfly by the Monarch Watch organization.

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