The NEST is a .5 acre green space on our campus which provides joyful opportunities for children to freely explore, investigate, and observe their world. In addition to areas for gardening, digging, and water play, The NEST is a place for classes to come together to study science through interaction with three rain and pollinator gardens, worm and ant farms, a waterworks, and mud kitchens. Students are able to build their gross motor skills by climbing on locally-sourced tree trunks, rocks and boulders, and playing on an open field. Additionally, studies at The NEST and our other green spaces connect to the classroom curriculum in multiple ways. Second graders keep bee hives, which provide the school with several gallons of honey each fall. The fifth graders are stewards of our school chickens which provide eggs for the whole school community to enjoy.
In order to integrate the activities of The NEST with the adjacent IDEA Lab, children use natural materials to explore physics principles such as momentum and inertia, mass and gravity, and force and balance. In the water play and mud areas, children can experiment with different ways of moving water and earth with hand pumps, pulleys, troughs, and devices of their own invention. The Waterworks features a giant Archimedes screw at its center in addition to an anemometer, a weather vane, and an armillary sphere. Students can direct the water’s flow by making river beds, dams, and blockades, exploring how water moves, and learning about the water cycle.
The design of The NEST incorporates multiple stormwater management features to help improve the water quality of impaired streams in our watershed. It reduces stormwater runoff fin the community, helping to protect the area’s creek.