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Early Childhood Education

The Environmental Nature Center is committed to offering positive nature experiences to young children. We provide young children with important opportunities to become familiar with the natural world by playing – and learning – while surrounded by and exploring nature.

STATISTICS SHOW THAT:

  • Outdoor play increases fitness and builds active, healthy bodies
  • Outdoor environments are important to children’s development to independence and autonomy
  • Children who spend time in nature have better language skills and more self-discipline
  • Spending time in the open air and learning outside increases students’ ability to think both critically and creatively.

Read on to learn about some of the Early Childhood Education opportunities we currently offer, and explore our ENC Nature Preschool website to learn about our highly anticipated new Nature Preschool!

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Traveling Naturalist Programs

Students will be introduced to the concept of magnets through a whimsical story followed by several hands-on science experiments. Through several magnet activities, students will learn how magnets of varying strength adhere to certain surfaces, demonstrating how magnets can either attract or repel each other, as well as further examining the concept of magnetic strength. 45 minutes. $5.00 per student/ 20 student minimum fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

The science buzzwords for this program are “materials” & “strength”. Students will participate in the telling of Bernadette Watts’ “The Three Little Pigs”, followed by the opportunity to build a house using three different materials from the story, as they make their own predictions & then test out the strength of the materials they used. 45 minutes. $5.00 per student/ 20 student minimum fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

Students will be introduced to the concepts of physical vs. chemical reactions, and how when chemicals react, interesting things happen–like explosions! They will become chemists as they explore several chemical reactions that will simulate the natural phenomena of geysers, volcanoes & for the finale…we will make elephant toothpaste! $6.00 per student/ 20 student minimum fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

Students will explore the science behind color as they participate in the story of “White Rabbit’s Color Book” followed by a special meeting of a live bunny to introduce the concept of camouflage in nature. They will then make predictions & conduct their own experiments that will introduce the primary & secondary colors, with the opportunity to make rainbows & create new colors. $5.50 per student/ 20 student minimum fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

After a story about critters who help the soil, students will learn how to gently dig for some garden helpers, use their magnifying lenses to practice observation, and will have fun sorting them out. They will wrap things up by meeting and learning more about 1 more garden helper. 45 min/ $5.00/student – Minimum 20 student booking fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

After a story about being a gardener and playing a garden game, students will learn how to plant a seed and will get to plant their very own seeds to take home with them. 45 min/ $5.00/student – Minimum 20 student booking fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

After a story about ladybugs and learning about their lifecycles, students will get the chance to explore the world of ladybugs by releasing them. (Spring only). 45 min/ $5.50/student – Minimum 20 student booking fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

After a story about spiders and getting to meet one, students will learn about the types of webs spiders weave, and then try their hand at making a web to catch a bug in. 45 min/ $5.00/student – Minimum 20 student booking fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

Hop, crawl, and jump through the world of Toads. After a story and a game, Students will get to meet a Toad first hand and see how they can help amphibians. 45 min/ $5.00/student – Minimum 20 student booking fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

Slither through the world of reptiles in this fun snake-filled scaly adventure. Students will learn about vibrations and smells through a snake game and will get to meet 2 different snakes. 45 min/$5.00 per student- Minimum 20 student booking fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

After a story about bees, students will get to see bees under a microscope, learn about pollination through a bee dance, and discover why bees are so important. 45 min/$5.00 per student- Minimum 20 student booking fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

Through story, sand, and tracks, students will get to experience what its like to hike through the desert, not to mention, what animals they will get to meet along the way. 45 min/$5.00 per student- Minimum 20 student booking fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

A 45 – 60-minute program offered to kindergarten students. On this exciting adventure, students will discover the attributes of mammals and learn about the habitats they come from. Through storytelling, playing games, and touching live animals, students will learn about mammals, and the difference between fictional and realistic traits. (Kindergarten Science Standards: 1a, 2a, 2c, 3c, 4a, 4b, 4d, 4e.) Tuition: $5.50/student (minimum 20, maximum 40 per session). Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

Through storytelling fun to find out what a forest habitat is all about, students will hike, crawl, jump, and look for animals on their journey through the forest. 45 min/$5.00 per student- Minimum 20 student booking fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

After a fun story about leaves, students will get to sort leaves and learn about the different shapes and colors of leaves and how they change with the seasons. They will get to meet a critter that eats leaves and create a memory leaf print of their favorite leaf! 45 min/$5.00 per student- Minimum 20 student booking fee. Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

A 45- to 60-minute program offered to pre-kindergarten students. Students will transform into a butterfly and go on a journey to discover animal differences. During this live animal storytelling adventure, students will engage their conversational skills, play games to hone their listening skills and learn about the world around them by touching live animals and artifacts. Tuition: $5.50/student (minimum 20, maximum 40 per session). Contact our Community Outreach Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

Field Trip Program

Children ages 3 to 5 learn that everything in nature changes. As they hike through the Center they learn about the life cycle of frogs and touch a real, live toad. They learn about the life cycle of butterflies and visit the butterfly house (seasonal). Children learn that snakes shed their skin to grow, examine snakeskin with a magnifying lens, and get to meet a real, live snake! They learn that mammals have fur to keep them warm when it’s cold, and gently touch the fur of several local animals. Along the trail children enjoy story time under the dappled shade of oak trees. 1 hour, $6/student, minimum 10/maximum 80. Contact our Education Coordinator to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.

Community Programs

Little Naturalist programs are outdoor experiential education classes designed for 3 – 5 year olds and their adult guardians. Activities are designed to encourage exploration and discovery and to enrich a child’s emerging physical and cognitive skills. Parents remain with children at all times. $8 per participant ($5 for members). Pre-payment is required. Register on our calendar.

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