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UND's University Children's Learning Center outdoor classrooms to officially open on Thursday, Oct. 15

Posted on 10/14/2015

The University of North Dakota's University Children's Learning Center (UCLC) will officially open its new outdoor learning play space on Thursday, Oct. 15, at 6:15 p.m., at the UCLC, 525 Stanford Road, on the UND campus.

The two Nature Explore Outdoor Classrooms will support the center's "Emergent Curriculum," designed to promote the physical, social, emotional, language, intellectual and aesthetic development of each child. The Nature Explore Outdoor Classrooms feature activities such as climbing and crawling areas, building areas (where children can construct a wide range of things with natural wooden blocks), a nature-art area, a water area, dirt-digging area, sand area, wheeled-toy area, a music and movement area, a so-called "messy materials" area for all ages and a garden.

In order to develop the outdoor classrooms, the UCLC team worked directly with Nature Explore, a nonprofit based out of Lincoln, Neb., to design the new outdoor classrooms or playgrounds. Nature Explore promotes engagement with the natural world and ways to make nature an integral part of children's daily learning.

The seed for the Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom came in the form of a bequest to Nature Explore from the late Carol Anderson, a North Dakota native and former North Dakota educator who designated funds to be used "in support of the education of children in North Dakota." Project donors included  ICON Architectural Group, JLG Architects, AE2S, Scheels, Jim and Mary Dale Hansen in Grand Forks, Jonathan and KariJo O'Keefe, the Naastad Brothers (Kallie and Ben), Katy and Alan Johnson and Tim Shea's Nursery and Landscaping.

About Nature Explore:

Nature Explore is a collaborate project of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. The organization works with a group of workshop consultants, designers and researchers throughout the United States to promote engagement with the natural world where nature is an integral part of children's daily learning.

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David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator/Writer/Editor
Division of University & Public Affairs
O  701.777.5529 | D  701.777.2731 |

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