What is a Nature-based Preschool?

What is a Nature-based Preschool?

A nature preschool uses a natural outdoor area as a regular focus for student activities. Typically, nature preschools are conducted completely outdoors or at least go outside every day to enjoy loosely-structured explorations and play in natural settings. In this core component of a nature preschool and after school program, the teachers' roles are to gently facilitate the process, monitor for safety and to provide guidance and information as needed. The children's own interests and discoveries guide these daily explorations rather than any predetermined activities, academic goals and objectives or teacher-led instruction. The excursions normally last from 45 to 90 minutes each day and are done in any weather conditions that are not actually dangerous. 

Children and parents understand that these outdoor activities will often get the children wet, dirty, hot and/or cold. Good outdoor clothes are a must and a change of clothes are always kept on hand for each child.

Most nature preschools also include daily free-play time in a wooded area, forest or outdoor space. Children playing there are supervised, but they are enjoying individual or group nature play with very limited adult interaction.

Our nature program offers indoor activities too-including stories, music, construction play, art, dramatic play, food preparation, snack, etc. In this regard we are very similar to other types of programs, though we usually incorporate natural themes and materials. 

An excerpt from the poem, “There was a Child went Forth”

There was a child went forth every day; And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became; And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years. The early lilacs became part of this child, And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird, And the Third-month lambs, and the sow’s pink-faint litter, and the mare’s foal, and the cow’s calf! 
~Walt Whitman

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