Last week I was treated to an early tour of the brand new Regenstein Learning Campus at The Chicago Botanic Garden. The opening celebration for the campus is Saturday and Sunday, September 10 - 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Drop in, take a tour and learn about all the wonderful things the new campus has to offer.
The indoor classrooms are amazing and will house many of the 1,500 classes offered by the Garden. I was particularly captivated by the preschool classroom I visited, so much so that I totally forgot to take a photo of the space! Go see for yourself what a wonderful program the Nature Preschool offers - a beautiful classroom full of thoughtfully-chosen toys to stimulate a child's learning and senses as well as a beautiful outdoor space to extend learning outdoors. Having been an early childhood educator for many years, I am delighted to see a nature-based program in our area. I would have jumped at the chance to send my own children there if the program had existed when they were little. More than ever it is important to instill in children a life-long love of nature and respect for the natural world. I worry that children today don't get enough time in nature, time to wonder and explore. The Garden has provided a perfect place for this to happen and I applaud them for their wonderful and varied programs for children.
The outdoor spaces will delight both children and adults alike. The rolling hills invite children of all ages to run and roll, the "runnel" water feature begs you take off your shoes and splash through the water, and the large hollow trees provide climbing and hiding spaces for children to stretch their muscles or quietly ponder the beauty of nature. Beautiful gardens and plantings are scattered throughout the campus.
I was very excited to see where the Butterflies and Blooms exhibit will be relocated next year. It has a perfect space adjacent to the building. Of course, it is a dirt pad right now but by next May the mesh enclosure, full of butterflies and beautiful plantings, will be all ready to open for it's 6th year.
So, stop in next weekend and see the wonderful new addition to the 385 acres of the beloved Garden. Check out the wonderful learning opportunities for all ages and, as the Garden says, begin to "Grow Your Life Story." Bravo to CBG!