Little Ferns Nature Program:
Weinberg Nature Center's Adaptation of the Forest School Tradition
A Nature Immersion & Play-Based Early Education Program
About Little Ferns Nature Program...
In part, found on the European forest preschool model, Little Ferns engages children and families in the wonder of developing key foundations in STEAM, language arts, and social and emotional skills by engaging with nature and animals.
We believe children learn best in a natural environment. Children spend at least 75% of their time in the program outdoors. The Little Fern's whole-child approach awakens children's senses, fosters individuality, confidence, and children's sense of belonging in the world. Through exploration of nature and team-building activities, Little Ferns seeks to marry academic learning with developmentally appropriate practices that set children up for school readiness and a lifelong sense of well-being in nature.
Look, I built a tee-pee!
At Little Ferns, all participants are:
Equal, unique and valuable
Considered competent to explore and discover
Wildly encouraged to be imaginative, silly, and creative
Encouraged to face appropriate risk and challenges
Guided to follow directions in order to be respectful of others, optimize learning, and keep everyone safe
Given many opportunities to cooperate, share, and problem-solve together, developing social skills and emotional regulation
All parents and carers are encouraged (though not required) to volunteer two class sessions per term. This is a terrific opportunity to get out and enjoy nature with your child. We guarantee, it will make you feel like a child again too!
What does it mean
to be a Co-Op?
Daily hikes in 700-acre woods
Sam Weinstock is the Director of the Weinberg Nature Center and Scarsdale Village Naturalist. Sam has a B.A. in Education and did his graduate work in Environmental Education at NYU. His work is deeply informed by years living with aboriginal people in Australia, where his 5-7 year old "teachers" taught him to speak to birds and sing with the Earth. He has worked in early childhood education,environmental education, animal husbandry and nature therapy for the past 20 years.
Taylor Black has a B.A. in Theater from Hunter College and A.A. in Early Childhood Education from Westchester Community College. Her teaching experience integrates basic life education, yoga, sign language and literacy, arts and drama, nature explorations.
Alexandria Harr received her BA from Queens College in Environmental Studies and Psycholog. Her strengths working in early childhood education are in literacy, arts, nature education, and special needs.
Lori Federico comes to us with a lot of experience as an early childhood art educator, robotics instructor and wildlife guide. She has her BA in Fine Arts from Purchase College.
Ages and Class Size:
For the 2024-2025 school year, Little Ferns will include a maximum of 12-14 children, ages 2.7-5 years old who will spend the day in a combination of small and whole-group activities. (Children must be potty-trained).
The class will run with 2-3 teachers and also include 1-2 parent volunteers per class session. Parents are always welcomed to stay and for children with special behavioral needs, are encouraged to do so as the forest presents particular challenges for supporting a group and keeping everyone safe.
1 adult per 4 children (ratio)
"My child was never bored and
loved being outdoors."
"Sam is a magical teacher who brings children
on beautiful adventures and infuses the class
with his own wonder and deep kindness."
"My son came out of his shell and
made so many friends."
Please note: WNCFS is not an accredited preschool and is not licensed as a New York State Childcare Provider. We are not legally affiliated with any school.