OPEN AIR VILLAGE
Nature-Based Education in Yellow Springs, Ohio
Located on Antioch College's historic campus, children learn naturally through PLAY in our "Open Air," outdoor classroom. Our core values are respecting children, embracing diversity, community involvement, and nature education.
MEET THE GAY'S
Welcome to Open Air Village, where we are dedicated to creating a nurturing, stimulating and welcoming environment for all children! Created by Nicole and Bryan Gay, our programs are run with a family feel so you can relax knowing your child is being cared for while appreciated for being themselves. We operate by the sentiment that it "takes a village" to raise a child.
Nicole and Bryan have been active community members in area Nature Education programs since 2016. Their first business, TA-DA Learning, held “Nature Adventures,” children's yoga, and sensory art classes for families through Fairborn Parks and Recreation and Beavercreek Parks and Recreation. From 2018 - 2020, they gained valuable experience as teachers at Evergreen Children’s Center, a WILD Certified preschool in Beavercreek.
As experienced Early Childhood professionals, The Gay's are committed to valuing a child's social and emotional development with respect to individual needs. Nicole earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Wright State University in 2010. Her diverse experiences range from Spanish-immersion teaching in Chile as well as a lead teacher for special needs 2nd and 3rd graders. Nicole was a public school kindergarten teacher before entering the world of child-directed education practices.
Bryan has a business background, but has found his true calling in connecting children to nature through play and STEM discovery. He is the designer of our new Outdoor Classroom and aspires to assist other area schools with planning natural play-scapes for learning. Nicole and Bryan are also the proud parents of two young daughters, so they know how important it is to find the right fit for your child’s first school. The Gay's core belief is that children learn naturally through self-directed play and exploration. It’s our hope that you find your family’s values align with our vision for progressive education.
"It’s exciting to make our way to Yellow Springs, a place we have always felt a connection to through it’s peaceful people and way of living. It’s truly a dream come true for us to open a children’s center based upon our values for raising children authentically and in nature."
Open Air Village's unique programs incorporate a variety of educational theories, while keeping the child’s best interests in mind and allowing for hands-on, experiential learning. To find out more about our vision for Open Air Village, keep reading or feel free to get in touch.
OPEN AIR VILLAGE
where children learn naturally through play
“A nature-based early childhood curriculum has dual goals of promoting whole-child development and environmental literacy, with nature as the organizing concept of the curriculum. Teaching practices in a nature-based [pre]school reflect established best practices in early childhood and environmental education, with an emphasis on play-based learning.”
Using Nature as our guide, the outdoor classroom is utilized as our primary location for inquiry based projects and day to day rhythms and routine. Nature-based themes emerge as children show interest in discovering the eco-systems in which we live and play.
REGGIO EMILIA INSPIRED
We believe that children learn naturally through self-directed play and exploration.
Outside and in nature, we embrace the ideals of free play. As a Reggio Emilia inspired school, we treat our environment as a child’s “third teacher,” putting careful thought into the space in which learning evolves and takes place.
Our mission at Open Air Village is to provide a respectful and nurturing environment for the developing child. Our program is specifically designed to encourage each child’s growth by being in tune with their social, emotional, physical, and educational interests. By providing high quality, scientific-based care, parents can relax knowing their child is having their individual needs met.
OUR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS
The Nature-Based educational programs at Open Air Village were created with our children’s needs in mind: to grow and develop in our safe yet stimulating environment. Take a look below to learn more about each program.
ages 3 - 4
Our youngest students learn naturally through play in our sensory-rich, outdoor classroom. Children will enjoy a daily rhythm filled with music, literature, big body play, and sensory art. Qualified Early Childhood teachers facilitate a unique child-led environment where students are able to pursue their interests while meeting developmentally appropriate standards.
Five year old children (kindergarten eligible) may supplement a homeschool curriculum, or simply enjoy another year of childhood before entering formal schooling.
Children will learn and grow as they form friendships in a play-based setting.
In Wonder Garden, the educational curriculum is child-led, with an emphasis on nature-based studies, connections to literature, and a Montessori inspired approach to mathematics. As young villagers, a large part of our focus at OAV is meaningful community involvement.
ages 5 - 10
Village Kids is an after-school opportunity for young villagers to meet safely and enjoy authentic relationships within our community.
Our program features walking field trips around the village of Yellow Springs as well as outdoor recreation in our play yard. OAV also offers an indoor, sensory-friendly atmosphere for completing school work, with caring educators on hand to provide encouragement.