Diann Gano—who opened her family child care program, Under the Gingko Tree, in 1986—has long believed that “the earth gives us what we need to learn” and that nature is “the perfect environment for little brains to grow and learn in every day.” While conducting research for her master’s thesis on outdoor learning in early childhood settings, she learned about the Nature Explore Classroom Certifcation, which recognizes schools and other organizations that have made a commitment to providing outdoor classrooms and comprehensive programming to help children use the natural world as an integral part of learning. After completing her master’s degree in 2010, she pursued Nature Explore Classroom certification for her family child care program. In 2011, Under the Gingko Tree was one of the first family child care programs in the U.S. to be certified as a Nature Explore Certifed Outdoor Classroom. Gano, an Erikson Institute Town Square Advisory Board member, has also participated in the Erikson Institute’s Early Childhood Leadership Summit and served as a webinar panelist for Town Square Illinois, an online resource and professional development tool for home-based providers. She has presented at the local, state and national levels on topics ranging from indoor and outdoor learning environments to math and science education in family child care settings. In 2016, Gano was honored as a recipient of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Child Care Innovator Award. She received her B.S. in liberal arts from Western Illinois University and her M.Ed. in education from St. Mary of the Woods College in Indiana.
posted by Diann Gano I am block crazy. I love blocks, particularly wooden blocks. Block play is so important in the early years to help children understand important concepts in measurement, spatial reasoning, comparison, estimation, symmetry, and balance. It fosters creativity and reasoning skills. Our home runneth over with blocks and we very often […]