Nature-based 4K preschool to start in September

Three entities focused on youth development join in unique preschool

Staff from Camp Y-Koda, Maywood Environmental Park and the Sheboygan Area School District are partnering to launch a new nature-based 4K preschool starting September 2018.

The preschool will be held Monday through Thursday from 8 to 11 a.m. at Maywood, 3615 Mueller Rd., Sheboygan. A Wisconsin licensed 4K-third grade teacher, assistant teacher and naturalist from Camp Y-Koda will staff the preschool.

Children will spend at least 50 percent of the time outside among the 135 acres while learning within six diverse ecosystems, the Arboretum, four natural play areas, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, a mud kitchen, creek, and more. Child-initiated outdoor investigations and unstructured time will also be included to enable children to know a place deeply and to develop a sense of place.

The nature-based 4K initiative aims to develop the whole child through daily nature explorations, play and activities. Learning will be child-led, hands-on, and project oriented. Nature will be the central organizing concept of the preschool with curriculum based on local, seasonal, and natural occurrences. Nature is not merely a topic nor activity theme, but the integrating thread that intentionally ties all parts of the preschool together.

The program supports dual goals that address both child development and environmental education. The 4K preschool will include the development of the world of the child in all domains – cognitive, physical, social-emotional, aesthetic, language and spiritual; and the development of an ecological identity or environmental ethic.

Sarah DeZwarte, Camp Y-Koda director of education and David Kuckuk, Maywood Environmental Park executive director, have developed the Nature Based 4K Preschool program in conjunction with Seth Havertine, Sheboygan Area School District.

Open enrollment registration is available to all Sheboygan County children that will be four years of age by Sept. 1, 2018. To enroll, go to www.sheboygan.k12.wi.us/enroll/.

For questions regarding the preschool, philosophy, or curriculum contact Sarah DeZwarte, Director of Education at sdezwarte@sheboygancountyymca.org.


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