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Since 1961 Tenafly Nature Center has been enriching lives through nature. We're excited to continue this legacy with our Forest Preschool Program!

Children 3.5 to 5 years of age have the opportunity to spend the morning or afternoon exploring the forest, developing their confidence, and laying the foundation for a lifelong appreciation of nature. As a Forest Preschool model program (sometimes known as a Forest Kindergarten), we spend 95-100% of our days outdoors, enjoying the seasons no matter the weather!

Fill out an interest form to have the Forest Preschool Director reach out to you!

Tenafly Nature Center Forest Preschool Mission:

Our mission is to inspire a lifelong connection to nature through child-centered learning experiences in the outdoors.

Tenafly Nature Center’s Forest Preschool Philosophy

Children learn through meaningful play experiences. TNC Staff promote this style of learning by:

  • Creating a safe and supportive atmosphere grounded in anti-bias education principles, allowing children, parents, and staff to develop a strong community focused on a mutual love of nature.
  • Allowing opportunities for whole-child development where children engage in age-appropriate risks and expand their confidence and sense of curiosity.
  • Facilitating hands-on experiences such as nature exploration and experimentation, leading children to reflect and reason through their experiences.
  • Providing ample time for free-play and recognizing that children require freedom from adults to form meaningful connections with their peers and the environment.
  • Developing a sense of initiative; children are seen as co-learners who work with teachers to develop the activities and flow of the day.

"This program has been absolutely amazing for our daughter! What initially drew us to the program was our desire to find a safe, outdoor preschool option where COVID precautions would be taken very seriously. We found that- and so much more. Our daughter has developed incredible friendships, a passion for the outdoors, and increased confidence to take on new challenges."

2020-2021 parent

What does skill development look like in Forest Preschool?

  • Physical: Climbing, jumping, running, hiking, digging, shelter building, building a snowman.
  • Cognitive: Observation of natural phenomena; literacy through print materials; language development through songs; math skills through measurement, counting, comparing, and estimating.
  • Social-emotional: Care of living things, dramatic play, working in teams, games, storytelling.
  • Environmental: First-hand experiences of seasonal and weather phenomena, connection to the local ecosystem

"Cannot recommend this program highly enough!"

- 2020-2021 parent

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