ODC Learning Centers

Our Outdoor Classroom has thirteen distinct learning centers, each designed to provide meaningful learning experiences in a nature-rich setting. Just as our indoor classrooms are divided into learning centers for individual, small-group and large-group play, likewise the ODC is organized into learning centers based on The Creative Curriculum.®

Nature Art

Vegetable stamping, leaf rubbing, paper mache eggs, fall walk collage, pinecone fairies, cornhusk dolls.



Tree block constructions, stick constructions, fairy houses, bird’s nest and bird house construction, bamboo teepee construction.



Digging for worms, sowing seeds, measuring seedlings, smelling herbs, recording weather station readings, identifying stem, root, flower, leaf and seed, preparing and tasting harvested foods, collecting seeds for next year, preparing beds for winter.


Water Sluice and Pump

Interacting with the flow of water as it follows the natural slope of the land down a 35-foot log sluice, exploring the two dams to hold back water, dry rock pond and splash rock, using buckets to carry water from hand pump to pour down sluice, using rocks, sticks and leaves to build dams and observe the movement of these materials in the force of the water.

Gathering Area

Meeting at the center of the ODC, generating and recording children’s ideas and “I Wonder” lists, introducing each center and the rules of the ODC.

Julienne’s Hollow

Observing birds and wildlife in a quiet, secluded area; sharing stories and songs on an enormous fallen tree trunk.


Music and Performance Stage

Scarf dancing, dramatic storytelling, playing drum and percussion instruments, enjoying in-school performances, puppet shows and holiday celebrations.


Messy Materials and Water Pump

Exploring soil, mud, shells, rocks, straw and bark to create three-dimensional nature art and mud pies, patterning using a variety of materials, digging.


Bird’s Nest

Playing birds in their nest, dressing up with clothing and bird wings, observing wildlife from raised observation deck, story writing and drawing, group reading and singing.


Climbing Boulders and Embankment Slide

Climbing up boulders of varying heights to scale, coming down via the slide, taking turns, launching from the crossbar at the top of the slide, landing in the soft grass.


Riding Track

Riding wheeled trikes and scooters, learning about riding rules and helmets, using traffic signs in dramatic play, running on soft track.


Outdoor Kitchen

Mixing soil, water, mud and sand in pots, pans and plates to make kitchen creations, dramatic housekeeping play.



Climbing to the highest point in the ODC with its bird-like vantage over all the other centers, seeing familiar space from a new perspective, map making, clipboard note-taking and counting.