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Nature Preschool FAQs

How do we "teach" children to read?

  • We read to them

  • We speak in complex language to them –
    they hear that words have meaning

  • We sing together – rhyming, phonetics

  • We encourage book handling and model writing

  • Story dictations

  • Journaling

  • Cooking

  • We write in front of children

  • We use children’s names, the most familiar word
    to them

  • We play guessing games involving names, pieces of language and words

  • Unlimited writing and reading opportunities, in context, self-motivated

  • We play/use different languages in the classrooms

How do we "teach" math?

  • Water table – measuring

  • Manipulatives – patterns, sizing, grouping

  • Counting, within context (counting children and/or
    if there is enough of something for everyone), emotional need (counting how many crackers one can have for snack)

  • Cooking – transformations, 1st, 2nd, 3rd

  • Snacks – sorting, one-to-one correspondence,
    table setting

  • Who’s missing – group names

  • Scales—more or less

  • Sorting of materials

  • Measurement

  • Songs with counting

  • Comparing

  • Pointing out time

  • Board games

How do we "teach" skills?

(When referring to skills, parents often mean empathy, self-help skills, coordination, cutting, sitting still, attention span, waiting in line, following directions, sharing, communicating, and social skills.)

  • Unlimited opportunities

  • Mixed ages, teaching each other

  • Make choices and experiencing consequences of choices

  • Time to work on projects/skills

  • Allow problem solving

  • Making things interesting, but not entertainment (sitting still)

  • Having children wait in line in context (when there are limited resources, i.e., two sinks and ten kids need to use them)

How do we "teach" children to follow directions?

  • Large group experiences

  • Reasonable expectations

  • Cooking

  • Handling animals safely

  • Within context of safety

  • Having reasonable requests or rules

  • Experiencing consequences

  • Being clear between requests and directions

How do we "teach" children respect?

  • Modeling

  • Giving reasons

  • Expressing our own feelings

  • Admitting our own mistakes

  • Acknowledging feelings

  • Caring for animals and plants

  • Using an authentic voice

  • Teachable moments, context

  • Having high expectations for how people are treated here

How do we handle discipline?

  • Follow through to the end

  • Respect and everything from #5

  • Put in context of relationships

  • Supporting relationships with parents

  • Being clear about expectations

  • Seeing good in all children

  • Making up with children after you have had trouble/starting new

  • Accommodating personal needs

How is the second year of preschool different from the first year?

  • Importance of repetition/spiral learning model

  • Deeper questions

  • Level of expertise

  • So many experiences—you can’t do it all in one year!

  • Different social interactions

  • Mastery

  • Outdoors provides constant challenges

How do we "get children ready" for kindergarten?

  • Problem solving

  • Prioritizing social/emotional development

  • Everything mentioned in the answers above