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Hiking the forest, catching dragonflies, digging for worms, listening to songbirds – these are some of the activities that fill our preschoolers’ time at the Rye Nature Center. Our new, five-day morning Forest Preschool is an opportunity for children to make these activities the foundation of their early development. Our Forest Preschool is unlike any other preschool program – children will be in an outdoor, natural setting over 50% of their class week, year round.
Friends of Rye Nature Center believes that the best way to foster a lifelong connection to nature is by engaging in meaningful outdoor activities as a child. Our curriculum is based on the Swiss concept of forest kindergartens. This educational model utilizes experiential, place-based, student-led activities with nature as the primary setting to create a dynamic for children to grow and succeed.
Place-based philosophy—We believe children’s immediate natural surroundings promote knowledge acquisition.
Nature is the primary teacher—We believe that the outdoors is the principle setting where childhood experiences and learning occurs, and this early connection and understanding will shape our futures.
Learn by doing – We believe that experiential education develops gross and fine motor skills and allows for the mastery of STEAM and literacy skills.
Our staff creates a dynamic prioritizing the development of the whole child. In addition to the best practices established by nature educators around the world, we use a variety of sources to inform each class, including New York State’s Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core. We then develop a year-long curriculum which targets and refines the naturally inquisitive behaviors of three- to five-year-olds so that there is a cumulative acquisition of literacy, science, technology, engineering, art, and math concepts. Songs, dramatic play, and project work (e.g. fort-building, gardening) are also central to each class. All activities are designed to help children develop:
Early literacy skills,
Math and science concepts,
Fine and gross motor skills,
Eco-fearlessness and eco-carefulness,
Empathy and friendship, and
Resiliency and independence.
Five Mornings a Week
September through June
9:15 am - 12:10 pm
SAMPLE FOREST PRESCHOOL MORNING
9:15 – 9:30 am
Class drop-off and morning meeting outside in the playground, tent, or garden.
9:30 – 10:00 am
Hike through the FRNC woods to collect leaf
and seed samples.
10:00 – 10:30 am
Examine samples with magnifying glasses at picnic tables. Discuss living and non-living things. Fine motor manipulative activity: counting/sorting of samples.
10:30 – 11:15 am
Literacy project using collected samples. Dramatic play and songs.
11:15 – 11:45 am
11:45 am – 12:00 pm
Story time and closing meeting. Prepare to leave for the afternoon.