Nature-Based Preschools in Connecticut

A child’s early years go by fast, and should be filled with adventure, exploration, and joy. Nature-based preschools are a great option for parents interested in offering their children a learning environment without walls. Below are 10 preschool recommendations that allow children to learn and explore outdoors, warmed by sunshine, and stimulated by the natural world around them. Also, the Montessori  curriculum typically incorporates nature as well and we've listed some Montessori preschools here.

Tinkergarten
The program meets in various parks (such as Heron Cove in Tolland, Bennett Memorial in Bethel, and Tilley Pond in Ansonia), offering children ages 18 months to 8 years old (grouped by age) a hands-on approach to learning while immersed in nature. With nine locations throughout the state, check for the closest program offered near you.

Dennison Pequotsepos Nature Center Nature Preschool
The Nature Center’s 350-acre sanctuary is the living classroom at this preschool. Children spend their days outdoors, fully engaging all their senses in the environment surrounding them. Membership to the Center is required, and the program welcomes children ages 2.9 to 5.

109 Pequotsepos Road, Mystic  860-536-1216

Westbrook Nature School
Here, children explore woods, streams, and meadows, and enjoy a nature-based curriculum that brings them up close to animal tracks and plants. Math, language arts, and science are all learned in nature and from it.

7 Long Ridge Road, West Redding  203-664-1554

The Redwing Pond House Preschool
Located on the grounds of the Ansonia Nature Center, this preschool ensures that little ones spend a great part of the day exploring the outdoors, hiking the many trails, and tending to the children’s garden. Summer programs are offered and applications may be submitted year-round for the upcoming school year.

21 Milan Street, Ansonia  203-734-7974

Carrot Patch Early Learning Center
The learning here takes place in a “beautiful wooded outdoor classroom with babbling streams and hiking trails." The curriculum is built on children’s connection to the natural world and integrates science, music, movement, arts, mathematics, and literacy.

235 Johnson Road, Hamden  203-248-5433
2 Maple Avenue, Clinton  860-664-0622

The Children’s Museum Preschool
Children visit the museum, planetarium, and wildlife sanctuary each month, and enjoy field trips to fun locations. Full and part-day options are offered year-round.

950 Trout Brook Drive, West Hartford  860-231-2824

Earthplace Preschool 
While some of the learning takes place indoors, many activities here take children into nature. If the temperature, including the wind chill factor, is 16 degrees or higher, children go outside where they can play on the nature-themed playground, walk on the trails, explore the 72-acre wildlife sanctuary, and visit the outdoor birds of prey. Each week, animals in the Earthplace teaching collection are brought into the classroom.

10 Woodside Lane, Westport  203-557-4400

New Canaan Nature Center Preschool
The holistic curriculum utilizes nature, science, art, language, and math, and a 40-acre campus filled with ponds, woodlands, and fields.

144 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan  203-966-9577

Natural Learning Community Children’s School
With the Simsbury Green Trail stretching behind the school, students here enjoy nature walks, stroller rides, and visits to the local fire station. The school also emphasizes composting, gardening, recycling, and trash clean-up.

110 Hopmedow Street, Weatogue (Simsbury)  860-217-0013

Sea School Preschool
The nation’s first and only licensed preschool in an aquarium, the program allows children to learn and play while exploring marine life. Literacy, science, technology, engineering, math, art, and social studies are incorporated into exciting themed units.

55 Coogan Boulevard, Mystic  860-572-5955, ext. 320

 

Photo courtesy of author.


Dennison Pequotsepos Nature Center Nature Preschool
109 Pequotsepos Road
Mystic, CT

Westbrook Nature School
7 Long Ridge Road
West Redding, CT

The Redwing Pond House Preschool
21 Milan Street
Ansonia, CT

Carrot Patch Early Learning Center
235 Johnson Road
Hamden, CT

Carrot Patch Early Learning Center
2 Maple Avenue
Clinton, CT

The Children’s Museum Preschool
950 Trout Brook Drive
West Hartford, CT

Earthplace Preschool
10 Woodside Lane
Westport, CT

New Canaan Nature Center Preschool
144 Oenoke Ridge
New Canaan, CT

Natural Learning Community Children’s School
110 Hopmedow Street
Simsbury, CT

Sea School Preschool
55 Coogan Boulevard
Mystic, CT