University of Delaware (UD) Lab School, serving as a laboratory for students and researchers in early childhood education, instructs preschool children from the age of 6 months to kindergarten. Committed to child-oriented learning and applying a compassionate mentoring program for educators, UD's Lab School has provided high-quality childhood education since 1934 and launched its nature-based program, pioneered by master teacher Katie Pollock, in 2017.

According to Jennifer Gallo-Fox, an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Delaware, "A high-quality early childhood curriculum focuses on the child and the development of the child, including their physical development, their language development, their sense of themselves, their ability to interact with others and their ability to learn literacy, math, science and social studies. When you teach a high-quality early childhood program, you're addressing the whole child, and that is something that the Lab School has always modeled."

The nature-based program at the UD's Lab School boosts kids' sense of curiosity and wonder via balanced student-driven and teacher-directed outdoor activities, fostering their physical, social, language, and academic development. Preschoolers can explore the outdoor areas around the Lab School and engage in activities as diverse as math, science, literacy, and arts.

Even in the cold months of winter, the young students spend most of their time outside, observing the environment, examining snow and ice under a microscope, studying trees without their leaves, and learning about hibernating animals, among many other things — which sounds like a great program!

Picture: Preschool children bundle up as they engage in nature-based, outdoor learning activities at UD’s Lab School.