The Children’s Discovery Center not only provides Summer childcare with certified staff, but our Summer Program integrates outdoor education into the student’s everyday activities. Various curriculum topics are addressed each week: Weather, Rocks, Wildlife, Native Fish, Native Peoples, Water, Outdoor Cooking, Survival, Rendezvous, Insects, and more! Outdoor learning is proven to break down socioeconomic barriers, such as language and disability, as well as establish an environment of inquiry where habits of learning are uniquely explored and identified. These children – through access to nature – are given the opportunity to explore such character traits as self-awareness, holistic thinking, risk-taking, diverse collaboration, tolerance and perseverance. These form a solid foundation for leaders in the 21st century.
Another major impetus for the Summer Program is the growing disparity between the time kids spend indoors wired to technology and the time they spend outside exploring nature. Based on research, an average child spends 44 hours a week on electronic media, but how many hours do they spend outside? Some may have heard of Nature-Deficient-Disorder in recent years, with the ongoing studies based upon the fact that there is an increasingly unmet need for children to connect with nature. The students at the CDC are outside during the Summer months anywhere from 2-5 hours each day, whether that be in our Outdoor Classroom, on a Nature Walk, or on a field trip.
While our Nature Summer Program is focused on outdoor fun, it also involves daily activities that require our students to engage in a higher-level learning, such as tasks of analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating. Critical-thinking skills are developed, maintained and expanded during this program through a constant emphasis on exploring, integrating, deconstructing and organizing. With this academic approach, Summer-learning-loss is combated in an engaging and comfortable environment.