Outdoor Preschool Program
Chagrin Valley School also offers a nature immersion program for ages 3-5, three full days a week. The program runs September through May, Monday through Wednesday from 9am-3pm. We have part-time options for families who would prefer a shorter time commitment, including a 2 day a week option as well as a mornings only option. See below for enrollment options and tuition.
At the heart of the Preschool program is a belief that giving young children ample space and time to play and reflect in a safe, engaging, natural environment is the best thing we can do to support their intellectual growth, socio-emotional development, and overall well-being. A vast body of research confirms that young children learn deeply through play. Our program director draws on the wisdom of a number of play-based educational models and philosophies to shape the early childhood curriculum. In particular, this program is inspired by the Forest Preschool model and also draws from the AnjiPlay and Waldorf philosophies. Our Forest Preschool is a child-directed nature-based approach to early childhood education, inspired by Reggio-Emilia’s “emergent curriculum.” For your child, this means spending each day playing outside where class activities can “emerge” dynamically according to your child’s interests and the changing seasons. The program shares with the AnjiPlay model a belief that the teacher’s role is not to direct children’s behavior, but rather, to thoughtfully observe, support, encourage, and work to understand each child over time. What’s more, educators must provide space for self-reflection as an important complement to unstructured play. As a former Waldorf teacher, our program director will also draw from that rich educational tradition to bring rhythm and consistency. Although our curriculum will mostly consist of emergent child-directed activities, regular routines help shape expectations and create a safer container for our community.
Our days will begin with a morning welcome where children will be greeted with a seasonal song or movement activity. Then, the group is free to choose how they spend their time outside on our 6-acre farm. For example, children may explore nearby forests and marshes, build structures out of natural materials, play imagination games, examine insects, collect wildflowers, cook, garden, or care for farm animals. Our mornings will end with an opportunity for each child to creatively reflect on their day and to share what they have been working on, the challenges they face, or the things they are learning.
When we trust young children and give them the freedom to explore the world on their own terms something miraculous happens: children cultivate their own interests and articulate their own points of view; they expand their capacity to focus and acquire new skills; they practice conflict resolution and emotional regulation; and they feel safe to challenge themselves and take appropriate risks. Even better, all this growth and learning is seriously fun! We look forward to helping each child in our program grow and learn through days filled with laughter, adventure, and getting our hands dirty.
Please email the preschool director Renae Lesser with any questions or to set up an enrollment meeting email@example.com.
Tuition for 9 month program:
3 Day/Full Day (9am to 3pm) — $675/month
2 Day/Full Day (9am to 3pm) — $450/month
3 Day/Mornings Only (9am to noon) — $338/month
Note that tuition assistance is available, please inquire.
August 25 – School Family Potluck 4pm-6pm
September 2 – Labor Day, no school
September 3 – First day of Preschool
September 21 – Pig Roast School Fundraiser – Public Event 3pm-7pm
October 3 – School Family Time Bank Info Meeting 6-8pm
October 14 – Indigenous Peoples’ Day, no school
October 17 – School Family Apple Cider Social 4-6pm
November 7 – School Parent Support Group 6-8pm
November 23 – Holiday Craft Fair – Public Event 10am-3pm
November 27-29 – Thanksgiving Break
December 20-January 5 – Winter Break
January 20 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day, no school
March 16-20 – Spring Break
May 25 – Memorial Day, no school
May 27 – Last Day of Preschool