About Our School
Our Four Learning Environments
“There are three teachers of children: adults, the other children, and the third teacher is the environment."
Loris Malaguzzi leader of the Reggio Early Learning Schools
Our Southeast Idaho farm and forest environment starts with indoor space. Our modern, light-filled classroom is a new monitor barn.
We built our barn classroom using the ECERS scale for space and furnishings with much natural light, solid wood, preschool furnishings, indoor plants, and porches which extend our art and science spaces. Like other Reggio Emilia inspired spaces, we decorate and teach with natural materials. This includes branch mobiles, weavings, seasonal displays, open-ended natural materials like dried flowers, cones, pods, cut branches, gems, stones, bones, shells, fossils, animal fur, nests, real insects, etc. We selected this barn design to make our indoor structure more local. We live in one of the most beautiful farming communities in the Western United States. Many of our neighbors are professional farmers and ranchers and we want children to learn from and identify with their own local agricultural environment.
We have created an accessable hobby farm where children can have authentic learning experiences each day through gardening, chickens, miniature breeds of cows, sheep, and goats.
Hobby farm outdoor learning includes caretaking opportunities of raising chicks, gathering different colored eggs, carding wool, or tasting sweet peas you’ve just opened from the pod that you planted and watered yourself. This farm animal learning is year-round and is often combined with cooking and primitive art experiences, and non frightening conversations about where our food and clothing come from. We will study particular farm animals in greater depth as the children show an interest. Each class will have their own chicken coop to gather eggs, name, and grow new chicks.
Our playground was designed as a Nature Explore natural playground where children can form deeper connections with the natural world and each other.
Our playground is designed for opportunities and strategies to ensure that each child can make connections with nature everyday. In more naturescape or natural playground environments young children explore, ask questions, collaborate, and make connections with nature and each other. Children form deeper bonds when exploring outdoors. Children have daily opportunities to care for plants, trees, animals, and insects and practice nurturing behaviors that help them act in kind and gentle ways to all living things.
Our third learning environment was planned using Nature Explore certification guidelines which includes intentional organic gross motor structures made from willow, logs, stones, plants, and hills, where children can slide, roll, pull, run over and under, balance, hide, and climb on log structures. This includes a space we call our mud kitchen and fairy garden where symbolic and sensory play can extend to the outdoors and children can design their own gnome homes. On our covered porches we have designed wooden planter boxes for growing vegetables and flowers and outdoor art processes.
Here in our wild acreage, we have a river plain habitat with willow and cottonwood tree stands against the Teton river where children can walk to raptor nests, a beaver lodge, and see seasonal migrating visitors like trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, marmots, coyotes, foxes, and elk. Reading about animals in books or watching nature videos is never as compelling as seeing an osprey dive and emerge from a river with a fish. We will not study an animal or creature that we cannot observe in the yard, the farm, or in the wild.