UMF in the News: The new Sweatt-Winter center at the University of Maine at Farmington focuses on incorporating nature into the classroom

Nature-based education is the focus of a new childhood and early education center set to open at UMF later this fall, according to a recent broadcast on News Center Maine.

Sweatt-Winter Playscape
The playscape in process at UMF’s new Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center

Anna Ploug was an ed tech when she started working toward getting her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at UMF. Initially, she had some doubts about that career path. 

“Do I feel comfortable putting small children on iPads for parts of the day? I have a lot of value calls I was struggling with,” Ploug explained.  

Ploug, who lives in Madrid Township, homeschooled her children, using nature in their lesson plans. She plans to continue utilizing nature when she becomes a teacher, thanks to UMF’s numerous courses in nature-based education. Hands-on teaching opportunities will come alive at the new Sweatt-Winter Early Education Childcare and Early Education Center.

Crews are close to completing the 20,000-foot center, which will replace a smaller building on campus. Outside, some play spaces incorporate paths and nature, eventually featuring a tree house and raised garden beds. Gleaming and colorful new classrooms are being set up for infants, toddlers, and after-school programs, adding 20 new spots for children. There are also several areas where UMF students will observe children in an instructional classroom.

To learn more about the nature-based education opportunities at the new UMF Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center visit News Center Maine.

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