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Leaping Lizards Philosophy

Nurture in Nature
The over-arching philosophy of Leaping Lizards Nature Awareness Preschool is to foster in children a love of, respect for and connection to the natural world while the children themselves feel loved by, respected by and connected to the adults into whose care they have been entrusted. Early childhood is a time for impressionable minds and spirits to be exposed to the wonder of the world in which they live AND to feel an unshakeable confidence in the love of and trust in their caregivers. When children feel safe and well connected to their adult caregivers, they then feel free and confident to explore, experiment and learn. As children learn to approach all of creation with reverence, their capacity for compassion grows. Regular guided excursions out into the natural environment allow children to develop a life-long value of stewardship. Our commitment to small class size and a high teacher-to-student ratio translates into safe adventures for our students. This idea of safe adventures encompasses physical as well as emotional safety.

We believe

  • that the development of the whole child depends on appropriate physical, mental, social and emotional nourishment supplied by the home, school, and community.
  • that play, both informal and organized, is significant in intellectual and emotional growth.
  • that a child has a natural curiosity and desire to learn and make sense of the world.
  • that learning can happen at any time.
  • that children need to develop an awareness and appreciation of nature if they are to learn to respect and protect it.
  • that children have the right to make choices, to express their own ideas and feelings, and to take initiative.
  • in respecting each child’s individuality and uniqueness.
  • in providing children with a warm, safe, and enriching learning environment.
  • in empowering children to develop self-reliance and independence.
  • that through loving and respecting children they come to love and respect themselves and others.
  • that as an educator, our role is to model good stewardship with regards to the earth, to provide a healthy environment for learning, to nurture in each child a full range of emotional expression, and to help each child view himself/herself as a unique and capable individual.
  • each child is entitled and has the right to a pleasant childhood and a good beginning toward a successful life.

Further Reading

  1. Carson, R. (1998). The Sense of Wonder. New York: HarperCollins.
  2. Louv, R. (2006). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books.
  3. Nabhan, G.P. & S. Trimble. (1994). The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places. Boston: Beacon Press.
  4. Palmberg, I.E. & J. Kuru. (2000). “Outdoor Activities as a Basis for Environmental Responsibility.” Journal of Environmental Education, 31(4), 31-36.
  5. Tilbury, D. (1994). “The critical learning years for environmental education.” In R.A.
  6. Wilson (Ed.). Environmental Education at the Early Childhood Level. Washington, DC: North American Association for Environmental Education, 11-13.
  7. Wilson, R.A., Ed. (1994). Environmental Education at the Early Childhood Level. Troy: North American Association for Environmental Education.
  8. Wilson, R.A. (1994). “Enhancing the Outdoor Learning Environment of Preschool Programmes.” Environmental Education, 46, 26-27.
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