PreSchool Ecology Extended Day 

Now registering for the 2019-2020 school year

About Our Program

Friends of Rye Nature Center offers preschool students throughout the area the opportunity to spend a morning or afternoon exploring nature and learning about ecology through experiential, hands-on fun. We use our resident animals to educate classes on animal adaptations, life cycles, and the importance of kindness toward living things. While hiking along our 47 acres of trails to ponds, the Blind Brook, or the quarry, your child will gain a deeper understanding of the natural world.

Preschoolers who are at least 3.5 years old by the start of the program (born prior to March 1, 2016) may enroll. Children will range in age from 3.5 through 5.5 in each class. Class size is limited to 16 students with two instructors per class. Volunteers and/or additional teachers will be added as necessary. Children may come once or multiple times per week. Children must bring lunch and wear clothes appropriate for exploring the outdoors.

Optional Nature Staff Pick-up/Drop-off at Local Preschools: Parents whose children attend Christ’s Church Nursery School or Rye Presbyterian Nursery School may have our staff walk their child to or from their local preschool and our program. More details about this option can be found in the registration packet.

Is Your Child Ready for a Long Day?

Adding a morning or afternoon ecology program to your child’s school day is a wonderful way to connect them to nature. We have found that children who enjoy our ecology program as an extension of their school day have reached several important milestones.

This program could be right for your child if:

  • Your child will be 3.5 years old by the start of the program (born before March 1, 2015);

  • Your child is completely toilet trained and needs little or no assistance in the bathroom;

  • Your child can follow simple directions within a group setting;

  • Your child has physical endurance (e.g. walks without being carried, no longer needs a nap);

  • Your child enjoys time away from their primary caregiver and is resilient (e.g. he or she likes to be with other children, usually separates easily to go play); and

  • Your child enjoys being outside and likes animals.

Educational Approach

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 utilizes a place-based philosophy—we believe children’s immediate natural surroundings promote knowledge acquisition. Our staff seeks to incorporate a framework that focuses on the learning and development of the whole child using age-appropriate activities and concepts. Our staff uses a variety of sources, including New York State’s Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core, to develop a year-long curriculum which focuses and refines the naturally inquisitive behaviors of three-and-a-half- to five-year-olds in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). In addition, we use dramatic play and songs to spark creativity and imagination. Weekly lessons include activities that will help children develop:

  • Early literacy skills;

  • Math and science concepts;

  • Fine and gross motor skills;

  • Problem-solving skills;

  • Eco-fearlessness and eco-carefulness (e.g. children will touch and explore textures, objects, and small insects with care); and

  • The ability to make friends in a group setting and have fun.

Please note: FRNC is not a licensed preschool and is not licensed as a New York State Childcare Provider. We are not legally affiliated with any school.


Morning Program

9:20 a.m.

Parents drop-off children at the Rye Nature Center. Children participate in hands-on ecology lessons, take guided nature walks, enjoy arts and crafts, and each their packed lunches.

12:00 p.m.

Class is dismissed. Parents pick up children or Rye Nature Center staff walk children to their local preschool.

Afternoon Program

11:30 a.m./12:00 p.m.

Rye Nature Center staff arrive at your local preschool to pick up your child or parents drop-off their children. Staff walk the children to the Nature Center. Children eat their packed lunches, take guided nature walks, and enjoy arts and crafts.

2:20 p.m.

Parents pick up children at the Rye Nature Center.


For the 2019 – 2020 school year, Preschool Ecology
will be offered the following dates and times.

Preschool Day Program Duration
Monday Afternoon 11:30 a.m. – 2:20 p.m.
Tuesday Morning 9:20 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Tuesday Afternoon 11:30 a.m. – 2:20 p.m.
Wednesday Morning 9:20 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Wednesday Afternoon 11:30 a.m. – 2:20 p.m.
Thursday Morning 9:20 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Thursday Afternoon 11:30 a.m. – 2:20 p.m.
Friday Afternoon 11:30 a.m. – 2:20 p.m.

Fees and Registration

The fee schedule for the school year is as follows. Please note that some days have a different number
of classes and therefore a different fee for the year. *You must be a member at the Environmentalist
level or above for the entire school year to participate in this program. Environmentalist
membership is $100 per year.

Class Day Number of
50% Down Payment
Second Payment
(April 1)
Total Payment
(June 1)
Monday PM 28 $1,015 $1,015 $2,030
Tuesday AM 33 $1,197 $1,196 $2,393
Tuesday PM 33 $1,197 $1,196 $2,393
Wednesday AM 33 $1,197 $1,196 $2,393
Wednesday PM 33 $1,197 $1,196 $2,393
Thursday AM 33 $1,197 $1,196 $2,393
Thursday PM 33 $1,197 $1,196 $2,393
Friday PM 31 $1,124 $1,124 $2,248

Registration for 2019-2020 is now open. Spots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. A complete application will include the following four documents, membership fee, and the 50% down payment ($600 of which is non-refundable):

  • Registration Form,

  • Medical and Emergency Contact Form,

  • Signed Consent/Contract Agreement, and

  • A copy of your child’s immunization record (current copy is fine)

Checks payable to Friends of Rye Nature Center.

Please Note: If you are registering your child for more than one day, you will need to place a deposit
for each class you wish to enroll. If you are not given a spot for the program, your down payment will be refunded to you.

You may cancel your child’s registration for a full refund less the $600 deposit fee if you notify the
FRNC in writing by June 1, 2019. No refunds will be available after June 1, 2019 for students not enrolling in the program. Membership is non-refundable.

For more information regarding this program or to register, please download a registration packet.