Findings from Research & Evaluation

The physical and mental health benefits of spending time in nature and forging deep connections to the natural world are well documented. Increasingly, the research shows important educational benefits as well. Spontaneous, open-ended, play in natural surroundings offers unrivaled opportunities for early learners to classify, observe, explore, and interpret the phenomena around them. (Kellert, 2005) Opportunities for creative use of loose parts and child-led investigation set the ground work for cognitive processes and support scientific and aesthetic thinking. (Ernst, 2008) Direct experiences with nature provide more opportunities for spontaneous and unplanned challenges and risk taking, necessary experiences for the maturation of children's problem solving and critical thinking skills .

Very young children, when guided by knowledgeable adults, learn to identify, count, and appropriately interact with objects in nature and engage in more independent, active, and spontaneous exploratory play. This can boost the potential for long-term nature play investigation and cognitive development. (Van Schijndel et al., 2010).

Developing Spirit & Soul

The Nature School is the collaborative creation of two vibrant and exciting organizations who hold similar passion for and commitment to outdoor education: The Cooperative Learning Community and the Trustees of the Reservation. The program develops spirit and soul and teaches children to move outward and sideways and not just forward.

The school is small enough that all the educators know all students. It truly feels like a community. All educators are clearly committed to the school and it shows in the way they treat children and families as partners and with respect and care.

Discover Moose Hill Farm

The Nature School is located on Moose Hill Farm, a culturally significant local landscape.


Explore what past families are saying about the Nature School.

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