The 12-Acre Classroom

Outdoor Education for Ages 3-9

An immersive outdoor experience connecting Early Childhood and Lower Elementary students to their environment, rain or shine!

The Power of Environmental Education for Young Children

Environmental education creates a direct and meaningful connection between students and the natural world. As humans, we are more inclined to protect that which we are familiar with or feel connected to. The more we learn about our planet, the better we understand the ways we can protect it. Having positive experiences in the natural world at a young age is an important step for cultivating curiosity about our environment and inspiring a generation of conservation leaders. 
In Outdoor Education, Early Childhood and Lower Elementary students actively explore a wide range of topics, learning about the relationships of complex systems and processes that exist on our planet.

Please note that this is a half-day outside class for our currently-enrolled Montessori students, and is not a stand-alone outdoor school program.

All animals are able to survive and thrive best in the habitats they are adapted to. To help us better understand different food, water and shelter needs, students participate in hands-on activities like building bird houses and creating insect terrariums. As we move further into the fall, our focus turns to the practices and philosophies of the Duwamish people, the original inhabitants of the Seattle metropolitan area. Following this we will examine our role as humans on the planet by learning about climate change, the carbon cycle, and discovering how to be advocates for change. As spring approaches, our focus shifts to investigating plant anatomy and the life cycles of marvelous budding trees and flowers. To finish the year, students explore aquatic studies, where they perform tests and collect information to better understand the health of our beloved Cedar River. Students will catch, study, and release different organisms living in and around the river.

This program works alongside our garden and animal behavior specialists, who guide the students in additional lessons in animal and garden care throughout the year.