Nature Club at Kendal open to neighboring kids

Submitted photo
Past Nature Club excursions have been to Hershey Children’s Garden at Holden Forests and Garden, the Oberlin reservoir, and Mill Hollow at the Vermilion River Reservation.

Kendal Early Learning Center’s Nature Club provides opportunities to explore the great outdoors.

There is no cost to take part in the programs and families from surrounding communities are welcome to join.

Director Jeni Hover and preschool teachers continually look for new opportunities for the children to learn and grow.

Teacher Mary Balduff combined work and furthering her education with the creation and implementation of a program to connect children and their families to nature experiences. She was in the Advanced Inquiry Program through Miami University and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology, with certification to teach.

In pursuing her master’s degree, through Miami University and Project Dragonfly, Balduff envisioned a program that would focus on the natural world and the opportunities it provides for young children.

Nature Club was born and became her master’s degree project.

“Children are constantly surrounded by manufactured items, so we focus on areas with natural aspects and learning opportunities,” she said. “An inquiry-based learning style is utilized, where club members are presented with a topic and allowed to follow and explore it however they see fit.”

The Nature Club usually meets twice a month, with the exception of the holiday months of November and December.

There is a Little Free Library on the Kendal campus, donated by the Stocker Foundation and available to all local children.

To learn more about the Nature Club, contact Balduff at

The Kendal Early Learning Center provides educational childcare for the preschool children of Kendal at Oberlin staff and children in surrounding communities.

The Learning Center is a five-star rated by Ohio’s Step Up to Quality Program. It is located inside the Kendal at Oberlin retirement community in Oberlin.


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