109 T.W. Alexander Drive, EPA Campus MD-105, Durham, NC 27711

Outdoor Learning

Our kids get dirty and we like it that way! Outdoor play and gardening promote early exercise habits, connects children to the natural world and teaches about good nutrition and care giving. As FEELC helps avert childhood obesity (complete with a good dose of Vitamin D) children gain a sense of accomplishment while they have fun.

Directed activities aside, children are encouraged to wander and wonder through FEELC’s grounds scattered with native, butterfly, vegetable and rain gardens. A sensory wall of pungent herbs, which also appear in lunches, leads to a greenhouse, play area and a stage. Natural areas encourage exploration from the ground up as children connect with plants and living creatures. FEELC also has a large wooded area with trails that to lead into camp areas, forts, and of course the magical fairy houses. The woods have become a favorite among our preschool children.
FEELC’s philosophy views nature as a ‘third teacher,’ after the children themselves and their classroom teacher. Sustainability, comfort outdoors, activity and stewardship for the soil, air, plants and animals that make up the natural world we all inhabit are just a few of the lessons nature teaches.

The hands-down, hands-on favorite is the edible Seed to Table garden. Planted in raised beds made of discarded and donated materials, the garden beds illustrate creative reuse and the value of teamwork. The all volunteer effort to construct the beds modeled teamwork and collaboration.

Science, technology, engineering, math, motor skills, cooperation and care...

Most of the grounds are kept in their natural state for children to explore, but cultivating natural habitats teaches children that nature needs care to thrive. Questions about seasons, temperature, rainfall and the need to nurture smaller things arise effortlessly in the garden. 

FEELC’s butterfly garden attracts insects for study, pollination and beauty while adding...

Part of every day is devoted to movement. Self directed or led by teachers, children dance, run, jump and carry in age-appropriate activities designed to increase fine and gross motor skills, balance and strength. Incorporating daily activity from the beginning of each child’s life establishes lifelong habits of healthy activity.

Extensive use of found objects keeps FEELC operational costs low while fostering creativity and collaboration among staff and children alike. Art is a vehicle for learning and sharing what has been learned with other classmates. Individual, class and school-wide projects decorate the grounds and spur further learning.

Using found objects teaches lessons about recycling, reuse and...

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