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Christine Hughes-Prince

BACKGROUND   My parents instilled in me a deep appreciation for the lessons that can be learned from nature and spontaneity, forged during summers spent exploring the White Mountains. My passion for the outdoors continued after my family and I moved to beautiful Cape Cod ten years ago. A graduate of Boston College, I have been teaching for 14 years, the last 10 of which have been at the elementary school level.

ADDRESSING THE NEED  I’m ecstatic to bring the Nature’s Playground and TimberNook programs to Cape Cod, combining my love of teaching with my love of nature. Both address what I believe is a critical need in our community. As an elementary school teacher and a mother of two, I see firsthand how kids don’t move enough at school, which can cause behavioral and self-esteem issues. The ever-growing emphasis on testing and screen time has crowded out essential time for free play, creativity, and physical activity. As a result, children are generally less equipped to problem solve, relate to their classmates, make decisions for themselves, and handle their emotions.  They are losing opportunities to be creative and inquisitive, and let us not forget they are a generation that is disconnected from nature.

MY OWN SON   I decided to take action after seeing my own son struggle in school because he couldn’t sit still in class. His constant complaint was, “We never get to play." There are valuable lessons to be learned from a less structured environment, from how to manage your time to how to make decisions as a group. Spending time outdoors boosts tactile and sensory learning as well.

CERTIFIED TIMBERNOOK PROVIDER  When a friend forwarded me the TimberNook Provider link, I felt that this was the change that needed to take place in my community.  I trained in New Hampshire with Angela Hanscom (Timbernook Founder) to become a certified TimberNook Provider because I believe in the importance of this program for our children.  In planting the seeds for TimberNook here on Cape Cod, my hope is that as the program grows, your children will blossom.