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Typical Day at Nature Preschool:

Active Play: Children explore and play in one of the preschool outdoor areas. We will also take hikes and tram rides to various areas of the Garden that will enhance learning experiences and discovery. Children will use large motor skills such as movement experiences, digging, climbing, gardening, building with loose parts, fort building, etc.

Journaling: Children “write” and draw in their Nature Journal each class. They will also have the opportunity to dictate their thoughts to an adult to record for them. Journals will remain at school until the end of the semester.

Group Time: Children take part in conversations to learn about the day’s topic, learn finger plays/poems, and sing songs.

Snack Time: Snack will be eaten community-style. Teachers will join the children so conversation can take place, and all can enjoy each other’s company. Children clean up from snack time, and as they finish eating go directly to free-choice time activities.

Free Choice: Children have a long block of uninterrupted time to choose an activity. This allows children to lengthen attention spans and to develop competency with an activity.

Examples of classroom activities for children to choose from during free choice time may include the following:

  • Blocks and building, e.g., the use of unit blocks, tree cookies
  • Fine motor activities, e.g. scissors/tearing, gluing/pasting, painting, lacing, all using natural materials
  • Sensory activities, e.g., water play, sensory bins
  • Science activities, e.g., experimenting with chemistry, plant-based experiments
  • Reading activities, e.g., listening to nature stories, playing with animal puppets, sharing books with a friend
  • Dramatic play activities, e.g., playing camping and gardening, pretending to be a farmer, running a fruit and vegetable market
  • Math and manipulative activities, e.g., completing a puzzle or playing math and matching games with natural materials
  • Adult-directed activities, e.g., cooking applesauce, making harvest soup, planting seeds, small group work


Story time


Topics to be covered during the school year:

  • Life Cycles of Plants
  • Pollinators
  • Trees
  • Seeds
  • Using Our Senses
  • Prairie
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Woodlands
  • Migration
  • Snow and Ice
  • Weather-seasonal changes
  • Animals in Winter
  • Tracks
  • Insect Life Cycles

Contact: Ann Halley, coordinator, early childhood programs (847) 835-8238