Wonder Woods

The YMCA of Muncie proudly announced the groundbreaking ceremony for the much-anticipated early learning forest, now officially named Wonder Woods. The event, marked by the planting of over 200 saplings, symbolizes a monumental step toward enriching the educational experience of young learners in our community.

A Place to Cultivate Young Creative Minds

Children learn and have adventures simply by being in nature and nature-based environments. The open-endedness of an early learning forest builds on a child’s natural curiosity and sense of wonder. As infants and toddlers use their senses, they question and even hypothesize about their experiences. As their wonder builds, language development happens naturally and authentically.

Colors, shapes, smells, sounds, textures, and other objects are not fabricated but confirmed in a forest. The educational experience builds on the child’s innate response and needs to discover. Language development, and development in other learning domains, is genuine and meaningful because curiosity and marvel come from within the child. Learning in nature is entirely planned by the child. Research confirms that children who lead their learning achieve higher levels of thinking and understanding.

The Future of the Wonder Woods

We have 3 goals for our Wonder Woods:

  • Design a space that allows for the Reggio Emilia Learning Approach to be followed
  • Create a Forest Learning Area that meets the needs of the Mitchell Early Childhood and Family Center
  • Provide a space for unstructured play

And while Mitchell’s Wonder Woods won’t generally be open to the public, community days will be scheduled so the community can come enjoy the learning forest too!

Below is a rough design of the layout and conceptual images of the Wonder Woods:

How can I Help?

For $200, you can purchase a specially engraved brick to be placed on a dedicated path in our learning forest. All proceeds will fund the sustainability of our beautiful learning forest.

To order your brick, you can download the order form by clicking the button below. Complete your form and drop it off with Kelsey Buck at the Mitchell Early Childhood and Family Center.

Download the Brick Order Form

For questions, contact Kelsey Buck at kbuck@muncieymca.org.

Other Research and Resources

1000 Hours Outside – The 1000 Hours Outside Challenge was set up by Ginny Yurich with the intention of encouraging kids to match their screen time with outside time. Its purpose is to help kids connect more with the outdoors and nature.

No Such Thing as Bad Weather by Linda Åkeson McGurk, Ann Richardson, et al

Memories Are Made in the Wonder Woods