Wildrock’s Nature Friends Preschool Program is designed to complement existing preschool programs with enriched nature play experiences at Wildrock and in underutitilized green spaces in schoolyards. Nature Friends aligns with and complements early childhood curriculums and is highly rated by teachers.

Given that preschoolers today are spending a daily average of 3.4 hours on screens, it is vitally important for schools to provide nature play experiences that are foundational for healthy early childhood development.* At Wildrock, many children have their first experience discovering mountain streams, vista overlooks and expansive free play spaces. A field trip experience (offered twice in the fall and the spring), helps children better understand the curricular materials featuring the seasons, animals and wilderness contexts, builds comfort and familiarity with nature, introduces the value of a relationship with nature for a healthy lifestyle, and seeds a conservation ethic. Wildrock onsite programming in schoolyards (provided before and after each field trip) supports teachers in bringing outdoor, imaginative, and exploratory play into the school day. Each visit offers children rich sensory play, a hands-on stewardship project supporting schoolyard wildlife, and a free play experience with open-ended materials.

We are proud to offer the Nature Friends Program in partnership with Charlottesville City Schools and other local preschools. We offer trainings to early childhood educators to support their work in bringing nature-infused play into the curriculum. For more information on how you can partner with Wildrock to bring the Nature Friends into your school, contact Paige Lindblom at plwildrock@gmail.com. Donations to support our work ensuring all local preschoolers have access to quality nature play experiences may be made by clicking here.

*Source: South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside. Read more here.