Snow: Play and Learn!


We are very fortunate to have a large yard that the children can experience nature in, while still being in a controlled, very safe and supervised environment. And since it’s been snowing in New York now, it has given us and them an opportunity to play with snow. The snow-filled yard and our greenhouse have been our classrooms the past few days.

We encourage the children to approach and understand the winter wonderland in stages. The first snowfall is clean and pristine so the children can taste it. As it gets firmer, they make snowballs and snow cakes. Finally, they paint on the ice as it begins to freeze.

This first-hand, sensory-laden experience is priceless and the best teaching tool possible.

If you’d like to look, please do visit our snow post from last year, too.

Everybody’s in the Greenhouse

After a week of exploring the snow – which was so exciting and fun to do! – we retreated indoors for another week of learning and playing. As always at Elements, though, there’s a twist to this story – the indoors were inside our greenhouse.

We built a greenhouse in our landscaped garden, in order to give our students another way to work with nature. Apart from the warmth and cosiness a greenhouse has, it’s also a wonderful lab-like environment in which to encourage children to observe nature. We have exciting plans for our greenhouse, but to start with, we spent this week treating it as our playground.

The children loved how cosy it is, and they spent time doing art projects, or just hanging out. The most fun they had, though, was playing parachute games inside, which are fantastic both as a learning tool and just a great activity.

Because the kids take turns, they learn to share the fun, and play together in a non-competitive, co-operative way. As they make the parachute billow, they develop superior motor skills and coordination, as also a sense of rhythm with their playmates. Plus, parachute games help strengthen shoulder, arm and hand muscles.

After a week spent playing, making art and learning in the greenhouse, we had a pizza party that everyone absolutely loved.