Lab School

March 18, 2024

The Lab School receives exemplary partnership award from the Delaware Association for Environmental Education

With a new award from the Delaware Association for Environmental Education (DAEE), the Lab School, housed within University of Delaware’s College of Education and Human Development, continues to be a leader in the field of nature-based education.

On Feb. 24, 2024, the Lab School received DAEE’s Exemplary Partnership Award for Excellence. The award recognizes a Delaware group that demonstrates an outstanding partnership in the environmental field that serves as a model and inspiration to others.

The Lab School educates children from the age of six months to kindergarten while serving as a rich laboratory for UD students and researchers studying early childhood education and development. In 2017, the Lab School began its innovative nature-based preschool program, pioneered by Master Teacher Katie Pollock.

Each class engages preschoolers’ sense of wonder and curiosity through a balance of child-driven and teacher-directed outdoor and nature-based activities that foster social, physical, cognitive and language development. Children explore the trails, creeks and wooded areas around the Lab School while engaging in activities that integrate science, math, literacy and the arts. The Lab School staff, a dedicated group of 10 teachers and administrators, has also collaborated to create, use and share new outdoor learning environments around their location in Newark, Delaware.

DAEE Award presented to the Lab School.
The Lab School received the 2023 Exemplary Partnership Award for Excellence from the DAEE.

The Lab School has partnered with CEHD’s Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood and early care and education providers to deliver professional development, offer summer camps for children on their campus and host the prestigious In Bloom Conference, a national professional learning event for educators interested in nature-based education.

“Watching both pre-service and in-service teachers become rejuvenated for teaching under the canopy of our woods has proven to have a ripple effect across the state,” Pollock said.

The Lab School staff accepted the award together at the DAEE’s 15th annual conference at Fred Fifer III Middle School in Camden, Delaware.

“This journey we have been on, together, towards becoming more nature-based has allowed us to be more mindful and connected to one another, our families, our community and our Earth,” said Dorit Radnai-Griffin, director of the Lab School. “We are creating the future stewards and change-makers. We hope more members of the UD community will connect with us for greater impact!”

To learn more about the Lab School, visit its website.

 Photos courtesy of the Delaware Association for Environmental Education and the Lab School.