Locally, there is an immense interest in outdoor and Edmonton nature preschool programs during the pandemic. After all, it feels less of a risk to gather outdoors, for a lot of parents, if proper social distance is maintained and masks are used. Most schools are open throughout COVID-19, but some are closed. Parents should contact each school directly to check for availability and programming.
What is an Edmonton Nature Preschool?
Local parents have found an increased interest in nature and outdoor preschools and kindergarten programs, as outdoor play becomes more of a focus but it’s not a new concept. The concept became popular in the 1950s in Sweden and Denmark, continuing through the next two decades in Germany, which has hundreds of “forest kindergarten” choices for parents.
Throughout the globe, nature preschool and kindergarten are becoming increasingly popular, where children spend most of the day, exploring and learning outdoors.
Find Local Nature Preschools and Kindergartens
Edmonton Forest School offers programs for children aged 3-6 to connect with the natural world. Located at Gold Bar Park on the east side of Edmonton.
Free Forest School of Edmonton, Alberta is a free Edmonton nature preschool program, open to young children and their parents or caregivers. This is a welcoming and non-judgmental group where parents and caregivers can practice giving children space and autonomy to explore and create in nature. As part of the program, children share a snack, take a hike, play in the woods, and have circle time. Parents get a chance to unplug and step back… Kids and their imaginations take the lead.
Gold Bar Preschool has a unique location in the River Valley, between two playgrounds. For a portion of the year, between April and June, the program is brought outside, to the River Valley. Then, the preschool program turns into an outdoor focused adventure.
An affordable Sherwood Park program offered through the Strathcona County Boys and Girls Club, the Rewild your Child program has half-day and full-day options available for preschool aged children. The majority of the day is spent outdoors, with themed weeks based on the nature / seasonal cycle, allowing children to play and discover in a safe and supportive environment outdoors.
Working as a group of explorers, driven by their own curiosity children will be given outdoor opportunities for self-directed learning through play. Using multiple natural learning environments, children will develop confidence in their own abilities to investigate and to collaborate. Children will be physically active and engaged in movement skills that will facilitate their balance, stamina and strength. Nature kindergarten is an optional program available to children at the following EICS locations: South Cooking Lake, Ardrossan, Vegreville and Camrose.
St. Albert Nature school offers a preschool program, but also a parented program for two-year-olds, called Nature Nuts. They thrive on the fact that not all classrooms have four walls, and have extensive information about their preschool programming on their website.
The program is primarily taught outdoors at Muir Lake Community Alliance Church by staff from Muir Lake School. The facility is located on neighbouring property immediately north of the school. The site offers wide open and treed terrain to form a rich natural learning environment.