Where do you meet? Classes meet in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Current drop off and pick up locations include: just inside the park at Grand Army Plaza by the Endale Arch, at the entrance to the park at PPW and 3rd Street, at the entrance to the park at PPW and 9th Street, and at the Lincoln Road entrance on the East Side of the park. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in bringing our classes to another area of the park.
Do you still meet in the rain? The snow? The cold? Yes! We meet in all weather: rain, sun, snow, and cold. Inspired by the true nature of forest schools, our primary goal is to spend as much time outside as possible. Depending on the day, portions of class may be held inside the library or museum as a respite on inclement weather days. Class will always meet—cancellations will only be made in the case of dangerous weather: hurricanes, blizzards, etc. Classes cancelled by Brooklyn Nature Days will result in affected families receiving a makeup day.
What is your Inclement Weather Policy? We are an all-weather program and plan to explore in the sun, snow, and rain, but when official weather advisories are put into place, we plan accordingly. Families will receive a message by 6am the day of class if we are moving drop-off to the Grand Army Central Brooklyn Public Library. This location gives us the opportunity to quickly head into the park if/when the weather shifts. Indoor drop-off ensures all children and our staff are safe and sheltered during inclement weather. The only time our class location will change is when severe or inclement weather is forecast—most likely due to thunderstorms, high winds, or severe cold. In the case of dangerous weather, such as a blizzard, class will not be held. In the event of an indoor drop-off situation, please see our updated inclement weather policy below:
The Brooklyn Nature Days Inclement Weather Policy offers families the option of either joining us in the library for morning drop-off or foregoing class on a day when we have to alter our drop-off location for the weather. Families with the flexibility to forego classes on an inclement weather day may choose a make-up class for their child on another day during that semester (regular or holiday classes). For families with the need for childcare, we will still hold class with drop-off at the library. This policy allows for a limit of 2 make-up days per session (families enrolled 5 days a week will receive 3 make-up days) and requested make-up days are subject to availability. On library drop-off days, we diligently monitor the weather as it progresses and we will head outside as soon as it is safe. We have spent anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours in the library. We cannot anticipate ahead of time how long our time in the library will be, so please take this into consideration when deciding whether to have your child attend on a library drop-off day or not.
What ages are your classes for? Our weekday morning classes are mixed age for ages 2-5. Our outdoor location, play based philosophy, and child-directed curriculum allow for all the children to be engaged and inspired to explore, create, and learn. Our small class size and small child-to-teacher ratio allows us to meet the needs of each individual child. Our summer program is open to Early Childhood, ages 2-5 (entering kindergarten) and Childhood, ages 6-8 (entering 1st grade). We also offer year round homeschool classes for children ages 3-8, as well as school holiday classes and afterschool classes. If your child is slightly outside of our age range, but you feel as if the program would be a good fit, please contact us as we are flexible to individual situations.
What if my child has never been in a drop off class or has trouble separating? While our goal is for your child to participate in the class independently with the support of the teachers, parents and caregivers are always welcome to stay if their child needs them. Based on the child's needs, we can work out an individual plan and supportive strategies for successful separation. Our teachers are extremely experienced and skilled in providing support during rough separations and are there to support your child through it with kindness and warmth.
What is your curriculum and daily schedule like? Our curriculum is inspired by our natural surroundings and the interests of the children. Our primary goals are for the children to feel safe, respected, and supported in their play, inquiries, and explorations. We offer tools and recycled/found materials for the children to use in their free play. Our day begins with a hike to our chosen daily location, followed by a hello circle and songs, ample time for unstructured free play, snack, story, art, hiking, music/yoga, and goodbye circle are available throughout the week before hiking back to the pick-up spot. While the daily schedule is set in place for children to find comfort and predictability in our day together, we are inspired to follow the wonder and spontaneity of nature and the group's discoveries as our day unfolds together. Children are invited to participate in our activities, but also have the right to continue exploring their own interests if they prefer. Please see our Philosophy page for more.
How do you keep the group together and safe? The well-being and safety of the children as we explore and play is our primary focus. Our small class size and small child-to-teacher ratio allows for us to make all of the children are safe, heard, and supported during our time together. Each day when we arrive to our location, we establish physical boundaries for play, code words for staying close to each other while exploring, and strategies for respecting our natural surroundings and each other. ALL teachers are trained in CPR and First Aid.
Do children need to be potty trained and are bathrooms available? Children are welcome to attend in diapers (just please pack extras as well as wipes and a personal changing pad.) We have a small portable potty available for the potty-trained children to use, as well as a pop-up tent for outdoor bathroom privacy.
What do the children need to bring each day? We like to travel as a group as lightly as possible. We have wagons to carry backpacks & supplies, but ask that all you send with your child is a full water bottle (we carry plenty of extra for refills), a full change of weather-appropriate clothes, extra back-up layers, and lunch if necessary.
Do you provide snack? Yes! We provide a healthy, energy filled, vegetarian snack each day consisting of a fresh fruit or vegetable and a complex carbohydrate. Please make us aware if your child has any food allergies. Children must bring their own lunch on days where we eat lunch together. We are a peanut and tree nut-free program.
What if my child has allergies or medical conditions? Please make us aware of any and all allergies and medical conditions your child has in writing so we can work out a plan to best meet their needs during class. We are familiar with Allergy Action Plans and are trained to use Epi-Pens.
What does my child need to wear each day? It is the responsibility of each parent to make sure their child is dressed appropriately for the weather. We provide detailed guidelines upon registration but in general, snow pants, snow boots, long underwear of wool or silk, and hats, gloves and scarves (lots of layers!) keep the kids warm in the winter. Raincoats, pants, and boots keep the kids dry in the rain. And sun hats, comfortable footwear, sunscreen, and bug spray allow us to explore in the summer. Playing and learning outside all year long is possible and quite enjoyable when children are dressed in the proper gear.
How do I enroll? Please submit enrollment via our website. You will find the program you are looking for in our menubar. If you have additional questions you may contact us at email@example.com
What types of payment do you accept? We accept both ACH bank transfers and payment via debit/credit card. Payments are non-refundable and non-transferable once submitted. Makeup classes are not available for classes missed on the part of the family due to illness or travel. Classes cancelled by Brooklyn Nature Days will be offered as a makeup class at our discretion based on availability.
Do you offer discounts? Yes, we offer discounts for siblings, as well as l for those who enroll for the full year for our preschool alternative program. One discount available per family. Please see enrollment pages for more information.
How do you communicate with families regarding classes, activities, and news on nature-based learning? We send an email at the start of each week with information on the upcoming week’s weather and activities. Families can keep up to date with our activities by following our website blog and our Brooklyn Nature Days Instagram and Facebook pages. By signing our release form, you give us permission to post pictures of your child on social media. We never use names. If you prefer that we do not use your child's picture, please notify us in writing via email.
All daily parent/teacher communication is via our Student Management app, Brightwheel. Photos, messages from teachers, inclement weather updates, and all other pertinent information will be sent via Brightwheel.
Is Brooklyn Nature Days awesome? Yes! We feel that our commitment to each child’s individual needs, the skill and experience of our teachers, the freedom and child-guided way in which we approach our classes, and our love and passion for nature education sets us apart from other early childhood programs. We are here to keep your children safe while also having fun with them--and we are also silly! Silliness and humor plays a large role in our student-teacher dynamic and we feel that it’s an important aspect of development to nurture senses of humor, fun, and a zest for life. We focus on respect for self, others, and our environment through an immersion in nature that both calms and excites the kiddos and we look forward to sharing our love of nature with you and your child! Come play with us!