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!
Traveling Naturalist Programs
Using dramatic play, we will pack our backpacks & head out for a “hike” through different habitats, encountering our live animals along the way. $5.50, up to 20, 45 minutes.Contact our Education 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, $6.50/student, minimum 10/maximum 80. Contact our Education Director to schedule, or call 949-645-8489.
Little Naturalist programs are outdoor experiential education classes designed for 3 – 5 year olds and their adults. 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. Register HERE.
Mini Naturalist programs are outdoor nature play classes designed for 1 – 3-year-olds and their adult guardians. Each program will start with a nature-based story and then transition to a hike and activity related to the program theme. Activities are designed to encourage exploration and discovery and to enrich a child’s emerging physical, cognitive, social & emotional skills. Parents remain with children at all times. Register HERE.
Join us for an unstructured ‘Parent and Me’ style class on our grounds. Each week we’ll hike out to a different habitat along our trails, set up a big blanket, and relax with our babies in the shade of the forest canopy. Parents will get to know one another while the babies experience ‘tummy time’ and free play outdoors. Each session will end with story time and a song.
Join us for a “Tree Hug Hike” out to the Redwood Forest. We will read a great book together under the canopy of our tallest trees while your family relaxes together on a blanket or towel. Afterward children and their adults will participate in activities and make crafts related to the theme of the book. Parents remain with children at all times. All ages welcome. Bring your own blanket or towel.
ENC Nature Preschool is a developmental play-based emergent curriculum where children’s ideas, inquiries, discoveries, and investigations are nurtured and implemented. With hands-on daily experiences children acquire a deep intuitive understanding of nature and the natural world. Engagement in the environment and with others is where real learning occurs. Attributes of the Outdoor Classroom Project, Reggio Emilia and Waldorf approaches contribute to the curriculum foundation.