Children as Scientists in a Natural World

July 2 - November 2, 2016

"We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children's memories, the adventures we've had together in nature will always exist."

Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Biologists, meteorologists, naturalists, observers, and explorers.

These are all titles that apply to children everywhere—young scientists constantly examining and processing the natural world around them. At both deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and Lincoln Nursery School, this mindset is encouraged in our youngest citizens and in grown-ups alike. This exhibition is designed to inspire visitors of all ages to take in the exciting natural world that surrounds us every day using Lincoln Nursery School’s exploratory methods and discoveries as a starting point.

Walking, close looking, reconstructing, utilizing the senses, and rainbow chasing are just some of the ways we hope visitors will engage with nature here at deCordova, and beyond. The world is filled with fascinating things just waiting to be discovered. Slowing down your pace to examine and experiment will help you catch them, too.

Childrens as Scientists Handout


Partnership: deCordova and Lincoln Nursery School

The partnership between deCordova and Lincoln Nursery School is a unique experiment in the future of museums and education. With four sky-lit studios as their base, sixty young children and their teachers use the entire campus as their classroom. Throughout the year, they observe and respond to changing installations of sculpture, the work of staff and visiting artists, and the flow of museum visitors and the seasons.

This education experiment is a two-way process. The children’s voices have come to inform deCordova’s interpretive installations and programs with a creative and collaborative spirit—an approach focused on discovery through experience rather than delivery of information. We believe this active learning fosters a lifelong engagement with contemporary art and nature.

Follow the links for more information about:

  • deCordova and LNS Partnership

  • Lincoln Nursery School

  • Professional development opportunities for preK - 12 educators, museum educators, and undergraduate and graduate programs

  • Educator/Parent Event: In Conversation with The Reggio Emilia Approach - Tuesday, October 25, 6:30–8:30 pm FREE
    Join us for a two-part conversation. Educators from across the region are invited to participate in a discussion about the potential for programming and involvement with the Wonder of Learning exhibition coming to Boston from Reggio Emilia, Italy in 2018.  Following, educators from deCordova and Lincoln Nursery School will discuss the making of the exhibition, Children As Scientists in a Natural World, and the value of nature education.


This exhibition celebrates the inviting and supportive environments created each year in Lincoln Nursery School’s studio classrooms. LNS’s emergent curriculum is responsive to student inquiry and reliant on ongoing documentation of children’s thinking through images and text. We are indebted to the LNS faculty’s generous sharing of their work, documentation, and materials from the studios to create this inspiring and engaging installation.

The soundscape of Walden Pond was collected over four seasons and produced by Kezia Simister.


Lincoln Nursery School
Mary and Donald Shockey, Jr.

The Square Hours & Admission

The Square is currently closed. Check out our new interactive space, The Lab, located on the fourth floor of the Museum!

The Square Logo