Nature Inspired Provocations – Rosa Parks ECEC

Recently, I – along with the other members of ORIN (Oklahoma Reggio-Inspired Network) – had the pleasure of touring Rosa Parks Early Childhood Education Center. This is a Reggio-Inspired preschool in the Union Public School district. This school is beautiful inside and out. For the purpose of the ORIN meeting, the teachers had created nature-inspired provocations for the members to gain inspiration from. While visiting these beautiful invitations to play, I wanted to do just that-play. Unfortunately, I was there for business, not pleasure. If these provocations can provoke wonder and a desire to learn from a 36 year-old (yes, that’s my real age), can you imagine what kind of joy and curiosity they would bring to a child?


Indoor Provocations

This provocation featured wood cookies fitted with a pre-drilled small hole for hanging, pine cones, dried oranges, cinnamon sticks, corks, wire, wire cutters, woven balls, and other natural materials.


One of the finished creations.


This teacher created an invitation to mash-up and blend together natural materials.

Imagine the use of motor skills, color mixing, texture exploration…so many possibilities.


In this classroom, the class had gathered an abundance of natural materials for the members to create houses or other structures with.


Building platform supplies were stored on another table.


The table was overflowing with natural materials to create to your imagination’s desire. I wanted to play so bad!


This classroom had also gathered an array of natural materials for creation of transient art.


I loved the addition of the berries.


This was an invitation to create nature prints in clay.


Outdoor Provocations

One of my favorite parts of the tour were the outdoor provocations. This one is an invitation to paint the landscape views.


Love the use of the muffin tin!


An invitation to paint and create with nature. The teachers explained that the students may use the nature materials as the tools for painting or as inspiration or to paint ON.


What a beautiful display of materials to paint, glue, cut and create!


Painting leaves. Notice the “paint brushes”.

I was blown away by the creativity and the use of natural materials in these provocations.

How do you use nature in your classroom?

If you enjoyed this post, you will love Fairy Dust Teaching’s 2017 Summer Conference!

Click here to register today! 

Did you enjoy this post?
Then stick around!

Join the Fairy Dust community and get email updates, tips, tutorials, and instant access to the Fairy Dust Teaching Library - FREE!


  1. wendy sires says:

    Sally I’m so inspired by your teachings. i just want to go and set them p and educate my other colleagues about what real Reggio inspired play spaces should look like.

    • Jenni Caldwell says:

      Love it! We would love to see pictures if you do have a chance to set them up! 🙂

  2. Laurel says:

    I am so excited that my friend spoke about you this week! It has opened a whole new world to us. Now we can start putting to use that 5 gallon bucket of acorns the kids collected this fall, as well as all of the other nature items they collect!

    • Sally says:

      Yes! How awesome! I love children’s collected bits (or buckets!) of nature!

  3. Mara says:

    That was so beautiful. It is fantastic to see the links with nature and the room environment! Mara

    • Jenni Caldwell says:

      I’m so happy you were inspired, Mara!



    Amei!!! 🙂

  5. Cindy Mackey says:


    • Jenni Caldwell says:

      Thank you, Cindy. The teachers of Rosa Parks ECEC work really hard to create inviting and thought provoking activities for their students.

  6. Teresa Chambers says:

    The pictures posted are great examples of how to incorporate nature in classroom activities@

    • Jenni Caldwell says:

      Thank you, Teresa. I agree and will pass along your kind words to the teachers of Rosa Parks ECEC.

  7. Brenta Clem says:

    Invitations of nature inspire and create. How exciting to see the ways children can use simple materials to produce elaborate designs!

    • Sally says:

      Exquisite! I love how the children’s eye can see and create using the simple beauty of nature!

  8. Sandra says:

    On holidays collecting things from nature that are not readily available around our centre. Imagining the creations

    • Jenni Caldwell says:

      How lovely, Sandra! So happy you found inspiration in this post. Would love to see pics of what your center does with the nature items you collected.

  9. Anvita says:

    Thank you sally.
    I always get inspired by looking at the pictures you share. Makes me realise that thetes no end to how creative we can be, as early childhood teachers.

    • Sally says:

      Yes! I love the creativity of teaching. The children’s creativity inspires me!

  10. Marianela Rodousakis says:

    This is sooooo inspiring! I love how nature materials have that open ended functionality, allowing the children to fully discover their potential of all the things they can do. There’s no wrong way! Only their creative way!

  11. Saga in cufari says:

    Sally you have inspired me so much all the way here in Australia xx

  12. Angela Badham says:

    Thanks for inspiring us, Reggio is trully a program that bring us teachers and children connected to nature and to our real self. I love what you are doing, congratulations, e um beijo.

  13. Prema Daniel says:

    I have registered for the Confrence. Enjoying and learning a lot. Hopefully use this in my teaching
    Thank you

Please Leave a Comment