A learning adventure in, about and with the natural world
ENRICHING OUTDOOR PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS
Our vision is a welcoming, flexible, nurturing atmosphere with a strong emphasis on children as engaged participants in the natural world. Children learn and grow through exploration and play. Their creativity, curiosity, confidence, and social skills are all enriched through navigating nature's wonders together.
We believe in supporting children from a place of appreciation for the wonders of the world around us. Opportunities to experience the world can only happen by being out in it!
We spend 2 to 6 hours outdoors each day. Unless weather is extreme, we will be gearing up appropriately and participating in cross-curricular activities outside. We believe there is no bad weather, just bad gear!
We provide a solid educational experience following State recommended learning outcomes to best prepare children for further school experiences- in a developmentally appropriate environment.
Best Day Ever!
What child would not want to spend more time playing and learning outside with their friends every day?
Licensed Educational Program to prepare children for kindergarten and beyond.
Half Day, Full Day, Extended Day, and Summer Programs.
Classes of 5-10 students, averaging 3-5 students per teacher.
Guided and self guided play and outdoor activities for 2-6 hours per day on our 45 acre campus.
Playgrounds, gardens, outdoor classrooms, indoor classrooms, art studio, educational materials, music, pets, and more!
Daily mindfulness practices, exercise, and rest.
Programs for children 2-5 years.
A Typical Day at the Nature Preschool
Children engage in a multitude of activities, projects, play, and a variety of healthy practices in order to learn and grow. Activities include a combination of child and teacher directed, group, and individualized instruction.
Skills practiced include observation, scientific thinking and experimentation, math, art, music, language, and physical, personal, and social development.
Sample Daily Schedule
Most activities outdoors, most of the time!
7:30-8 - Morning Greetings & Play
8-9 - Teacher and Self Guided Play
9-9:30 - Morning Minute/ Mindfulness Practice
9:30-10 - Morning Snack
10-12 - Group or Individual Projects
12 - Lunch Time
12:45 - Clean Up
1 - Half Day Dismissal
1 - Story Time
1:15-3 - Rest + Nap Time
3 - Wake Up + Snack
3:30-4 - Table Time Activities
4-4:30 - Evening Minute/ Mindfulness Practice
4:30-5:30 - Outside or Inside Activities/Projects
Preschool Programs to Fit Your Family's Needs
Half Day (8:30am-1:00pm)
Full Day - (8:30am-4:30pm)
Extended Day - ( Choose:
Early Birds 7:30-8:30a.m.
Night Owls 4:30-5:30p.m.
or both options)
2 Days (Tu/Th)
3 Days (M/W/F)
Full School Week (M-F)
School Year Sept-June
Summer Session Addition
tasting the rain
carson in art studio
Our Approach to Learning
The Benefits of Nature, Inquiry, and Play on Education, Development, and Wellbeing
The evidence is clear: time in nature and in play is essential to a child's development and health.
The Nature Preschool of Baltimore is influenced by the greats in early childhood educational theory and practice: Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner of Waldorf schools, and Loris Malaguzzi creator of the Reggio Emilia approach. Additionally, the brain science supports the value of outdoor play, a few benefits being; increased attention and self regulation as well as decreased anxiety.
These brilliant educational approaches include practices of contemplation, inquiry based learning, cultivation of critical thinking and problem solving, and self-directed learning projects.
With this inspiration, we also work within all of the standards of Accreditation provided by the State of Maryland, ensuring that your child is well prepared as a life long learner and thinker as well as for Kindergarten standards. We also work with several local schools to ensure we are preparing children for academic success.
We implement an emergent model curriculum based on events in the natural world. We explore topics of interest to children.
It is through these relevant and meaningful investigations that children utilize and develop their natural curiosity, creativity, and organizational capabilities.
Form: What is it like?
Function: How does it work?
Causation: Why is it the way it is?
Responsibility: What is our responsibility?
Change: How does it change?
Connection: How is it connected to other things?
Comparison: How is it like or different?
Perspective: What are the various points of view?
Geography: Where is it uniquely in the world?
Refection: How do we know? Why?
Habits of mind that they begin to develop will start them on a solid path of lifelong love of learning and discovery.
The basic readiness skills that are needed for kindergarten are learned and practiced through units of study that are meaningful and relevant to the children.
The children use their early skills with interest and intent as they express themselves and create and discover.
Our daily activities are designed specifically with experiences that will help children find out who they are and what they can do in the world.
Skill introduction and reinforcement happens along the way, affording all optimum opportunities for enrichment.
Meet the Nature Preschool of Baltimore Team
Our faculty are intentional practitioners of their vocation. Every member of our team is educationally certified and practiced in mindfulness training.
This provides us with a depth of experience in instruction and introspection, assuring each interaction with every child is meaningful, compassionate, supportive, and genuine.
Professional and personal integrity are integral to our team at the Nature School of Baltimore. Our values are reflected in how we serve the community.
Visual Arts Teacher
Frequently Answered Questions
Hours of Operation
Our programs run from 7:00am to 6:00pm. We offer a 9 or 12 month schedule.
We close for federal holidays and the period between the Christmas and New Year holidays. We also close one week at the end of each summer to prepare for the upcoming school year. The third Wednesday every month we close at 4:00 for faculty training and meetings.
We offer 2, 3, and 5 day programs for children 2 to 5 years, half, full or extended day. Our half day schedule is 8:30am to 1:00pm. We offer a wide range of cross curricular activities including; working in our atelier (art studio), creative movement, yoga games and various team sports are offered on-campus during the day.
We serve 2 snacks per day of organic locally raised foods. We will also eat what we grow in our community garden.
We will be mindful of our resources and responsibilities to the Earth. We will try to keep our paper consumption low, we will recycle and re-use whenever possible and we will use people and Earth friendly cleaning products.
We are an outdoors program. We go outside every day. Most of our instruction is based upon what is happening in the natural world. We will spend a good deal of time engaged with Mother Nature (2 to 6 hours most seasons of the year) and we will get dirty! We have a 40+ acre campus with a children’s community garden, fields, streams, hiking trails, and for older children, access to an outdoor pool in summer.
We have a combination of both fenced play areas and open space. During the school day the children can experience the joys of planting and harvesting in the garden, running through the fields, observing wildlife and exploring the streams. They can climb on the boulders, trees and playground, create endlessly in the sand, snuggle up in the shade of our “tree-ish” house with a great story or art materials.
Small. We have no more than 10 children in any one class. The average is 3 to 5 children per teacher during the day.
Our experienced staff meet and exceed all Maryland State requirements and are mindful practitioners of their vocation. Each year they participate in both in-service training and additional educational opportunities to meet and exceed all MSDE continuing education requirements.
Technology + Computers
We are following the position statement made by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) which says computers may have "positive effect" on children's learning but in no way replace highly valued early childhood activities and materials. For us this means the children will have very occasional opportunities to use search engines to support inquiry but they will not take the place of developmentally appropriate materials.
The children will have varied and ample opportunities to express themselves and practice skills using a large variety of artistic and explorative expression. This means we will be making messes for creative purposes, playing, often outdoors with actual objects and writing using actual writing implements.
We do not follow Baltimore County Public Schools' schedule exactly. We use it as a guide when deciding on the best course of action for delays/closing. When schedule changes occur, families will receive text and email by 6:00a.m. Updates will also be posted on FB.
We offer several programs to meet the needs of families. You can see our Program options here and download Tuition information here. Please call us at 410.329.9867 or click to schedule a tour and discuss the program that fits your family's needs best.
We are located in the middle of Hunt Valley on the gated campus of the iconic Beaver Dam Swim Club pond. To find us turn onto Lakefront Drive off of Beaver Dam Road. Follow into office complex and make the left turn onto our gravel lane. You will see our rustic building on the right.
Here are some studies, ideas, and approaches to education that we are inspired by:
Richard Louv - Last Child In the Woods. Outlines the physical and cognitive benefits of a strong nature connection. See here for more of his work supporting the need for children being OUTSIDE!
Sir Ken Robinson - TED talks on "Do Schools Kill Creativity?" and "Bring on the Revolution". He advocates for a new paradigm and educational revolution to develop the best in our children.
Vygotsky Theory of Social Development. The importance of social development as the precursor to learning.
Howard Gardner - Theory of Multiple Intelligences. IQ is discovering and utilizing everyone's distinct gifts is in.
Alfie Kohn - What to Look for in a Classroom and Ten Obvious Truths That We Shouldn't Be Ignoring
Kath Murdock - Teaching and Learning Through Inquiry. Interesting stuff on inquiry based methodology.
The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergarteners of Finland. - An international perspective on early childhood education that better meets children's unique and many needs.
Local FOOD. Yummy locally raised goodies always taste better and are fresher. See where and how to get them!