June 2, 2015 @ 3:04 PM

We are learning more and more about the importance of adding natural elements into children's play inside the classroom. Research over the past 10 years tells us that when we bring the outdoors inside we can stimulate a child's play experience and contribute to their healthy development (Natural Learning Initiative, NC State University). Author Richard Louv, writes how today's children can have limited outdoor opportunities that connect them to nature and how this can effect their growth and healthy development in his book, "The Last Child in the Woods."

Here at A Place to Grow, children are often in our program for 8-9 hours per day. We believe incorporating outdoor play a minimum of two times daily is imparative for their healthy development. We also believe there are great benefits to providing materials that support spontaneous, intrinsic, open ended play inside the classroom. Over time we have been adding more natural elements into the classroom, with natural wooded toys, glass containers, textured items, textiles and lots of natural materials from the outdoors (plants, sticks, pine cones, shells, branches, grasses, flowers, rocks, sand, water).

Browse through our image gallery to see our invitations to play set up inside our classrooms.