The Reggio Emilia philosophy believes that environment plays an important role as 'teacher'. At Elmhurst Academy we believe this extends beyond the physical classroom environment to our outdoor spaces and facilities.
Our Outdoor Classroom and Discovery Play Gardens (DPGs) are certified Nature Explore classrooms.
"The Nature Explore Classroom Certification Program is a national initiative that recognizes schools and other organizations that have made a commitment to providing outdoor classrooms and comprehensive programming to help children use the natural world as an integral part of learning. Grounded in over a decade of research and field-testing, this widespread initiative is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Foundation in collaboration with environmental, educational, design and health organizations."
-- Nature Explore
Our Environmental Education program works in conjunction with our outdoor classroom certification to enhance natural learning and help students develop a deeper desire to interact with and care for the natural world around them.
To learn more about Nature Explore, visit natureexplore.org
The outdoor campus also includes two wildlife habitats certified by the National Wildlife Federation. A bird sanctuary on the West side of the building houses provides food, water, tree coverage, and houses for the birds to raise their young. In 2015, Elmhurst Academy received the NWF Schoolyard Habitat Grant to create a butterfly garden along the East fence that provided food and shelter for migrating butterflies to lay their eggs. These spaces bring local wildlife closer to students, allowing them to create a connection with nature and form sense of responsibility to provide habitats for plants and animals.