Nature-Based Pre-Kindergarten (Ages 3 - 5 years old)
Our PreK is truly a magical place - a children's garden. We create a protected childhood space where imagination blossoms. Here, in the warmth of a loving, accepting atmosphere, each child's individuality is respected.
In this ideal environment, children's intrinsic capacities for development unfold through imaginative play and healthy, inclusive social experiences within the class. Each child is nurtured allowing for growth at his or her own pace. The result is a strong, balanced, and healthy human being.
Mother Nature is one of our most valuable teachers and inspiration. The dynamic rhythms and impressions of the seasons make our play yards, and the woodland campus surrounding our school, a vital part of our learning environment.
The children at A Child's Nature experience the wonder and variety New England weather has to offer- rain, snow, ice, wind, and plenty of sunshine!
In Autumn, we plant bulbs, rake leaves, and greet woolly bear caterpillars preparing for their winter sleep; in winter, we build snowmen, feed winter birds, and sled down the slope of our play-yard and in the forest; in Spring we welcome the return of flowers, fresh leaves, beloved insects, and spring birds; in summer, we LOVE water play, get wet and muddy building sandcastles, catch butterflies, gather wildflowers, and build fairy houses throughout the forest.
This rhythmic exposure to the natural world around us is the basic element of scientific observation and this implicit knowledge will provide a foundation for all future scientific pursuits.
We Care for every part of a Child's Nature -
The manifold activities of our program instill a life-long love of learning. Imaginations are ignited through a variety of artistic activities - through the warmth of storytelling from the heart, and by imitating beautiful gestures, songs and verses in our circles. The rich language content of our program, combined with the repetitive element of these experiences, helps to develop generous listening, sequential recognition, and the capacity to focus one's attention. This builds a foundation for strong literacy skills.
Activities such as finger plays, sorting of play objects, folding laundry into specific shapes, setting the table, and counting the chairs for snack time all provide foundational math skills.
Play is the ultimate work of the young child. Every day, our children enjoy long periods of play where their imaginations can unfold - both indoors and out. Children also want to share in the practical, purposeful work of the world around them. Whether it be washing dishes, chopping vegetables, baking buns, folding laundry, helping to prepare the morning snack, becoming independent dressing themselves, or crafting something useful, each opportunity to participate in life in a developmentally appropriate way helps the children build-up their capacities and skills. This cultivates self-confidence.
All our programs are similar in that they work out of a daily rhythm, which include snack, seasonal songs and verses, and plenty of outdoor play in all weather.
In the Buttercup PreK, handwork, gardening, cleaning and caring for the classroom and its contents are ongoing activities available during free play periods.
The preK weekly rhythm includes: movement circles, cooking, beeswax crayon drawing, watercolor painting, and walks in nature. Nature's rhythms weaving through the seasons of the year provide the underlying themes for our circles, craft activities and festival celebrations.
Like the seasons, our daily and weekly rhythms soon create a predictable and safe atmosphere. Here, a breath-like flow between quiet activities and expansive social interaction is established.
This rhythmic aspect is essential for the young child in building and strengthening his/her own physical, emotional, and spiritual capacities in a healthful way.