Weinberg Nature Center Forest School
A Nature Immersion & Play-Based Early Education Program
About Forest Pre-School
Based on the European model, The Weinberg Nature Center Forest School is a Pre-School Co-op that 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 WNCFS'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, the WNCFS 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 WNCFS, 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?
Dad joined today to read a favorite story We painted what we saw in our mind's eye.
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 environmental education, animal care, and nature therapy for the past 15 years.
Jennifer Madison has worked in coporate America. Today, she advances from her experience with private schools, mothering four children, with an essential vision for children to encounter and learn in nature. Jennifer has many skills, including, teaching children nature-based arts and crafts and curriculum development.
Iris Federico is a certified early childhood education teacher in New York State. Iris has taught preschoolers literacy and life education skills for over 7 years and other grades for over 20 years. Iris believes children learn best out in nature. The outdoors gives young scholars greater meaning and life direction.
Nicole Zeytoonian is the Director and Lead Teacher of Wild By Nature, which offers environmental programs to children. Her love of animals, nature and children combine masterfully and inspire.
Imagination: What else
could these sticks be?
Fine motor skills
Daily hikes in 700-acre woods
Ages and Class Size
For the 2022-2023 school year, the WNCFS will include a maximum of 12-14 children, ages 3.25-5 years old who will spend the day in a combination of small and whole-group activities. (Children must be potty-trained).
The class will 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)
Estimating and counting
"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.