Nature Education

Dr. Maria Montessori believed nature to be a source inspiration for learning. She observed that children tend to be fascinated with the natural world, and encouraged educators to get children out into nature, rather than confining them inside the classroom walls.

When children come into contact with nature they reveal their strength.
–Maria Montessori

Parkside founders Joe and Claire Bruno have always understood the wisdom in this approach. Over the years, Parkside students have enjoyed daily hikes, overnight campouts at Pedernales Falls, and swimming in springs and creeks.

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Now the latest research is showing that kids who spend less time in front of electronic screens and more time in nature are healthier, happier, and perform better academically.

So we’re delighted to share that Parkside’s new campus has been created to connect our students with the natural world. Highlights include:

  • Natural playscapes: A two-story playhouse that serves as a bird and wildlife observation deck, balancing beams made from tree trunks in the shape of a snowflake, and bright blue canoes on imaginary waters are just the beginning of what you’ll discover on campus. Natural playscapes benefit children tremendously by encouraging more creativity, more exploration, and more physically challenging exercise than traditional playgournds. And they’re just plain fun!
  • Outdoor trails and gardens: Our campus features a butterfly garden and interconnecting trails through the woods, providing rich outdoor learning opportunities for all ages. Additional gardens will be planted and tended by Parkside students.
  • Freedom to explore and enjoy nature: An amazing thing happens when you’re surrounded by hundreds of trees and twelve acres of land: you just breathe easier and relax into the expanse. So we’re certain one of the best things about Parkside’s new campus is that it will give children the opportunity to wander, explore, climb trees, splash in the creek, or do nothing at all but simply enjoy time in nature. Exercise and structured games have their place, but unstructured play brings myriad benefits to a child’s brain development. By the way, we’re pretty sure that “unstructured play” is good for children and adults alike, and highly recommend it for all ages.
“Parkside has a wonderful reputation in the Montessori community of Austin, and thus intrigued us. But what kept us at Parkside is the love and support we feel from the teachers, admin, directors, and community. Our primary teachers were more than just "guides" -- they obviously cared for my children in my absence. And Joe and Claire are the loving shepherds of a small flock of eager sheep.”
The Scotts