People can begin to learn about conservation at any age. At our Nature Preschool teachers help children develop an environmental ethic over time. We do this while we help children foster emotional, cognitive, and physical skills. Children learn to make a connection between caring for the land and caring for themselves. We simply embed nature in everything we do, the natural world is an active participant in each lesson.
If a child sees a pretty flower, very often, the first instinct is to pluck it from the ground so that they can hold its beauty. We explain that if they leave the flower, they can return to enjoy it anytime they wish – and everyone else can too. It takes patience, repetition, and above all, modeling, for a child to come to see nature as something worthy of protection.
Instilling an Appreciation for Nature
While hiking, we discuss the connection between seeds and flowers, as well as the needs of the animals who depend on plants for food or shelter. We nurture the animals in our classrooms, handle frogs at the ponds with care, and learn how to be calm and observant near bees. Our students develop not only confidence in nature, but also their own sense of responsibility.
Teaching a love of nature doesn’t only take place during our year-round Preschool. We also have age-appropriate educational programs for children not enrolled in the Preschool. We begin with infants and toddlers during Audubon Babies and Hand-in-Hand. These programs are a sensory-rich way for children to experience nature one-on-one with their adult, whether that participant is their parent, grandparent, or caregiver.
Other Programs in the Nature Preschool
Nature Mondays and Preschool Summer Camps utilize the Center’s hiking trails, as well as the Preschool’s vibrant classrooms. During these short-term programs, students share in the Nature Preschool experience, including learning formative conservation concepts.
Developing a conservation ethic is an ongoing experience that doesn’t happen overnight. Our Nature Preschool programs provide children with an introduction to caring for nature early in life. They can then spend the rest of their years enjoying beautiful flowers rooted in the soil.