One of the first nature preschools in Montana and the first in the Billings area, Fledglings Nature Preschool is founded on the idea that kids learn best through play and hands-on experiences. Students spend at least 80% of their time outdoors, guided in exploration and learning by our skilled team of teacher naturalists. Academic skills such as pattern recognition, letters, numbers, and colors emerge from the child’s experience–counting birds on the pond, looking for matching colors of flowers and bugs, tracking animal prints in the snow, journaling about nature observations, etc. Positive social interaction and respect for others is heightened and reinforced by outdoor exploration and play, and the children’s learning is grounded in sensory experience of what is closest–the animals, plants, rocks, and weather that surround them every day.
Our approach draws from multiple sources, including Interest-led Flow Learning, Reggio Emergent Curriculum, Inquiry Learning, and others. Curriculum is designed on a two-year cycle for those students who enroll for multiple years. Our teacher-student ratio of 1:8 ensures in-depth mentoring and relationship-building, and frequent contact among the families of our students creates a community that goes beyond the classroom.
For the 2017-2018 edition of Fledglings, two class sessions will be offered:
Registration for 2017-2018 begins March 1, 2017. Call or email to inquire.
September –Get to know yourself, your environment and classmates. Learn about teamwork and exploration.
October – Changes in Nature through senses
November – Preparing for winter, shelters, adaptations and foraging
December – Nature celebration with music, song and dance
January – Coverings: coats, boots, fur, feathers how do humans and animals deal with the cold
February –Enjoying the cold while working on cooperative play and colorful birds
March – Concert in Nature, listen, learn and mimic.
April – Water everywhere, learn the shapes of things while enjoying planting season
May – Plants and Flowers, how did we all change through the year?
8:30-8:45 Arrival and quiet discovery center time
8:45-9:00 Plan for the day and sharing
9:00-9:30 Outside Adventures (directed exploring and playing outside, working on climbing, balancing, creative thinking, lifting, building)
9:30-9:45 Inside to wrap up Outside Adventure (review what we saw, do an activity or craft)
9:45-10:15 Wholesome Snack (provided by Audubon, prepared by preschoolers) and free play
10:15-10:45 Unstructured playtime in the Shepard Nature Play Space
10:45-11:15 Story time/music/crafts
11:15-12:00 Outside for guided exploration (guided science, math and language exploration may include netting in the ponds or fields, making rivers at the pond, canoeing, float sink experiments, etc)
12:00-12:30 Lunch, Clean up & head home