Nature Tables - Learning Environment, Part 1

Nature Tables and Setting Up the Environment

One of my most recent discoveries in setting up the environment is the popularity and joyfulness of a nature table. The Waldorf philosophy uses a nature table extensively in their programs. In other child care philosophies it is called the “nature tableau” or “science corner” as well as “seasonal invitation”. Any way you call is, it contains the same basic elements. It’s a special table or area where the seasons of the year are displayed through nature, fabrics and even handicrafts. The display is added to throughout the year by both the teachers and children and should be changed every seasonal change.

I give you examples of how I set up my nature table for:

  • Winter;
  • Summer; and
  • Spring

Consider what you would do for the fall season!  Comment below if you'd like!  ;)

The nature table serves two purposes:

  1. to function as an exploration of the season; and
  2. to aid in science related activities.

There are a couple of books to help you with the nature table or even make it a literacy project in addition to a science project.  One of these books is The Nature Corner: Celebrating the Year's Cycle with Seasonal Tableaux.  

You can find the links to these books, examples of nature tables and more when you read the full article.

Part One of the Series -- Setting up the Environment: bits and pieces on how to create interesting, exploratory, comfortable, beautiful places in your child care environment by Summer Langille, M.A.

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Summer Langille, M.A, Early Childhood Education Specializing 0-8 Years

Summer has been working with children for almost 15 years. The oldest of four she’s always seen herself as a caregiver. She started off caring for children as a nanny for many years. She received her undergraduate degree in Liberal Studies from San Francisco State University and has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education specializing in birth to age eight from Long Beach State. She’s worked with infants all the way up to elementary aged children in center-based care, private school care, home-based care, back-up care and afterschool care. She was a lead teacher for an infant program and more recently a two year old/preschool program. She even had a brief stint as a brownie girl scout troop leader. She’s passionate about quality care for children and thinks the environment plays a large role in how a child learns effectively. She loves art, blocks, music, fairy gardens and picture books and wants all caregivers of children to know how important their job is to the children they care for. Summer is currently home with her baby, navigating this new role as Mama. She blogs about her family at www.summerplayshouse.com.