People always say to “get outside into nature” and that “nature is beneficial”. But can a whole preschool philosophy be built around it?
The Allure of Outside
We are bombarded with people telling us to get our kids outside.
Screen time is at the highest it has ever been, yet people aren’t sending their kids outside.
Is it really worth all the trouble of bundling your preschooler up to go into nature and then deal with the muddy clothes after?
Who has time for all of that on top of homeschooling (…and making lunches, snacks, and dinner, plus doing the laundry)?
Let me introduce you to Nature Based Preschool.
It may be just what you are looking to bring into your homeschool preschool to get your little one outside and to help to improve everyone’s mood.
What is Nature Based Preschool?
Nature Preschool, or Nature Based Preschool, is the idea that preschool learning can happen outside.
Let your little one’s wonder and curiosity take the lead as to what to learn, do, explore, and to learn more about.
Benefits of a Nature Based Preschool
When preschoolers are able to explore and interact with nature on their own terms they are able to develop a deep down respect for nature.
Want to Help Nature
Preschoolers learn some of the workings of the natural world by being in a nature based preschool which may encourage them to want to help protect nature because they have an appreciation for it.
Time Not on a Screen
Time spent on a screen is on the rise. By having a nature preschool, your little one will be spending time outside exploring or time inside investigating rather than time watching television.
Interest Led Learning
When put out in nature, your preschooler can work at her own pace and investigate whatever she wants. One day it may be leaves while the next it may be worms under a log. By allowing her to take the lead, you are showing her you believe in her and trust her.
Is a Nature Based Preschool Best for Your Family?
You might be thinking that Nature Based Preschool sounds good in theory, but what about the people that have cold winters or hot summers? What about the people that have babies or temperature-sensitive littles?
Nature Preschool isn’t an all or nothing approach. In an ideal setting, yes, all of the learning would be happening outside.
Exposing your little one to nature and letting her explore, no matter how limited in time, will ALWAYS be well worth your time. You never know what will spark her curiosity.
How to Create a Nature Based Preschool in Homeschool
Nature + Preschooler = Nature Preschool
No fancy tools or equipment needed other than weather appropriate clothing.
Set a Goal
Set a goal as to how long each week you want to spend outside. If possible, have your little one out for a few minutes each day.
Allow your preschooler to collect items from nature to bring back into the house. This will help extend the nature based preschool inside. This is especially helpful when it isn’t possible to get outside because of temperature troubles.
Outdoor Learning Spaces
Some families find it helpful to have an outdoor classroom or an outdoor mud kitchen to help encourage their little ones to interact with different parts of nature.
Although this is nice, it isn’t necessary to have a successful nature based preschool in your homeschool.
Even gardening in small spaces is a great way to create a fun outdoor learning space that’s totally hands-on!
Providing water and containers is a great way to help your little one experiment with how different things in nature interact with water. Your little one will quickly realize that water and soil make mud, so be ready! Put a towel on the floor by the door to help limit the mud coming into the house.
To jump start your nature preschool, you can use a nature scavenger hunt.
Getting into nature with your preschooler doesn’t have to be scary! Taking a walk around the block or playing outside are great ways to help your preschooler start to appreciate nature. The more time you spend in nature, the easier it becomes to go out into nature. Your preschooler WILL get better at putting on a coat and mud boots, I promise!