My Vision of Education:

Since children need real life experience and skills for lifelong learning; NATURE is not a luxury; it is a MUST.

A new and increasing trend in many schools is to keep the children inside in sterile rooms, shielded from any natural environment which could possibly make the child sick. Unfortunately, it is exactly that overdose of hygiene which weakens their immune system and results in an increase of sicknesses and behavioural problems.

Therefore, the natural environment of an Outdoor Classroom area is not only for the children’s psychological development but is also essential for their physical development too.

Children gain many things from firsthand experience in the Nature including physical skills social skills and complete sensory integration. These are the essential components of the Nature Project.

Children experience changes in temperature as the seasons change and notice even simple things such as how at different times of the day the temperature changes. Even daily experiences such as experiencing thirst or heat are all learning opportunities for children as they start to make the link between what they feel and the natural world. 

The sounds of the animals and weather (birdsong, buzzing of the bees, wind, rain, thunder) soothe, relax and strengthen the senses of children. This encourages accurate and intensive listening skills as well as promoting concentration and phonemic awareness which are essential skills for children to gain in order to become literate.

In the Nature all the senses of children are promoted in harmony with nature, without over-stimulation. What could be a better learning environment for children?

My own, unforgettable and wonderful childhood was spent on a farm. The woodland was my second home!

Regina Kruse-Özçelik

Nature Education Pedagogue

Consultancy & Seminars & Workshops available upon request:

"I Can...!" Identify and Communicate Quality Child Care and Education.

Outdoor Education & Cross Curriculum through Project Based Learning

  • Playground Design with Children
  • Adobe & Straw Bale House Building
  • Earth Oven Building
  • School Vegetable Garden
  • Outdoor Mud Workshop
  • Clay Workshop

Children design their environment

Cross-Curricular Classroom Project

March - June 2018

“We are designing our Classroom!”

Cross-Curriculum Workshops for Educators

Achieving the aims of the curriculum through the Straw Bale Garden.[...]

The Straw Bale Garden

A practical guide...

Play and learn with INA-PEDAGOGY

To adults a forest may seem as just a part of the environment, whereas to children it becomes a place of adventure where everything is possible. Children can develop freely in nature and are able to discover their personalities on their own. [...]

Building an Adobe House with Pre-school children

A practical guide...

Before you buy any kind of clay and soil which contains clay, please explore what kind of soil you have around your school together with the children. Make a ‘Soil Test’ by mixing some soil with water in a jar. A few minutes later you can see what your soil contains. [...]

Building an Earth Oven at Istanbul International Community School

A step by step tutorial...

Below you can find the activities for the lesson plan. The project can be taken over by one class or several classes can cooperate together. [...]

How to use clay with kids

Kids love working with their hands, and there's nothing better for fighting boredom than clay projects. Kids can knead it, divide it, form small figures – and they can destroy and knead it again! By doing that they can easily train their fine motor skills. [...]

Workshop for Educators: Building an Earth Oven

A narrative by Perin Ozant

This Sunday, on the 8th of May, I had the opportunity to experience a very refreshing workshop called "Workshop for educators: Building an Earth Oven" conducted by Regina Kruse Ozcelik, the educational coordinator of the Small Hands Academy in Rumelihisari. [...]

Straw Bale Gardening Workshop

A narrative by Aynur Gül Şahin...

I am Aynur Gül Şahin. I have studied "Preschool Education" at Boğaziçi University. On the 6th of March, I participated in the outdoor workshop about Straw Bale Gardening. Regina Kruse Özçelik who is a nature-education pedagogue organized the workshop and showed us the way doing outdoor education with children. She is the organizer and coordinator of the workshop and at the same time she is educator in the kindergarten which has applied outdoor education. [...]


Portrait Regina Kruse Özçelik

Regina Kruse-Özçelik

I was born in North Germany in 1964 and I grew up on a huge farm, surrounded by fields and forest.

After my education as a pedagogue, I worked in Germany and Greece until I came to Istanbul in 1990. I started my teaching life in Istanbul with my own kindergarten group “Villa Kunterbunt” in 1995, then I joined “Küçük Eller 3” as a partner and I started coordinating the Rumelihisarı Campus in 1999. Since then I have been responsible for coordinating the entire school life as well as ensuring the educational standard and philosophy of the preschool in Rumelihisarı.

I have been coordinating Cross Curriculum Projects (School -Vegetable Garden and Earth Oven Building) in Ütopya Primary and Secondary School, and I have also been involved in the planning and coordination of six International Educational Congresses organized by Küçük Eller & Ütopya School between 2002 and 2013 in which I have also participated as a speaker in several occasions.

In 2014, I participated in the International Play Association Conference in Istanbul and ran a workshop entitled “PLAY and LEARN in the FOREST Education for Pre-School Children.”

Since 2000, I have been teaching the effect of the Outdoor Education to educators and children in Rumelihisarı. For weeks, I lived and learned with children in the garden, without using any indoor room! The effect was amazing: Calm – independent – creative - social children who were always motivated to learn and eager to invent new things.

What could be a better start for life? Is there a better preparation for school?


Do not hesitate to contact me for any kind of inquiry!
Please use the contact form or my email address below: