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Listing of Ohio Programs

To have your program added to our site please email info@naturebasededucation.com!

Southwest


The Antioch School is an elementary school, serving children ages 3 1/2 to 12 years and has been connecting children, nature, and learning for almost 100 years.  From daily time on our park-like grounds to hours spent weekly in Forest Kindergarten and outdoor classrooms to weekly hikes in the neighboring 1000 acre nature preserve, Glen Helen, children spend ample amounts of time outdoors every day.  Even our building, with its walls of windows, was designed to bring the outdoors in.  The natural world serves as an inspiration for emotional and intellectual growth and a proving ground for building leadership skills. 

The Arlitt Child Development Center, housed at the University of Cincinnati, is one of the oldest laboratory preschools in the United States. The program serves preschool children from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds and acts as a practicum site for students from many programs at the UC. In addition, the Arlitt Center serves as a research site for faculty and students, acts as an observation and training resource for the community, and leads initiatives related to early childhood education and education for sustainability. Arlitt is home to the international peer-reviewed journal, Children, Youth and Environments and co-chairs the local community organization Leave No Child Inside of Greater Cincinnati. 

Arlitt teachers are committed to providing meaningful and regular experiences outdoors. In addition to daily play on the center's playground, children visit the award-winning Nature PlayScape regularly, in all seasons, developing a relationship with the space and gaining a deeper understanding of the effects of time and seasonal changes in their environment. Play-based at its core, our curriculum is child-driven, guided by our observations of the children and their interests. Inspired by the words of child development professionals in Reggio Emilia, Italy, we believe that all children come to us as competent, capable, and ready learners who can and should have agency in their learning experiences. 

PEEP (Preschool Environmental Education Program) is a nature-based preschool program at Brukner Nature Center in Troy, Ohio.  This unique hands on program explores a different native Ohio wildlife topic each week helping to reconnect children with wildlife and wild places. Brukner Nature Center wishes to instill a natural wonder and curiosity through guided activities as well as unstructured nature play.

Cincinnati Nature Center Nature Preschool is a licensed, nine-month preschool offering morning or afternoon classes for three- to five-year olds. We seek to meet the developmental needs of the whole child by initiating a life-long, meaningful relationship with the natural world in a high-quality early childhood environment. Teachers attend to children’s needs for autonomy, connection to others, and acquiring/mastering skills while creating an environment where children are self-motivated to focus deeply on purposeful activities.  

Learning Tree Farm Nature Preschool is a part-time preschool that spends most of its time outside.  Licensed by the state of Ohio, the student to teacher ratio is 15:3 and the classes are mixed age groups from 3-5 years old.  We believe that concrete daily experiences, in nature with ample time to explore, build children’s ability to problem solve and self-regulate. Our emergent and child-centered curriculum allows us to investigate nature and the farm using a multidisciplinary approach. 

Little Schoolhouse in the Woods is a nature based preschool program in Cincinnati, Ohio. Focusing on social and emotional development while offering generous amounts of play time out in nature, this program is committed to fostering a love of nature and guiding children toward healthy relationships with themselves and others. 

Mother Nature's Classroom, Warren County

Mother Nature’s Classroom strives to incorporate nature-based learning into everyday life with fun outdoor education facts, ideas, and experiences. 

Nature Mind Co-Op

Nature Mind Coop is an evolving group of diverse home-based and home-based aspiring educator/parents approaching connecting to nature as human rights advocates. To learn more about our nature centered, mindfulness based approach to creating emotionally resilient and life-long learners, please email naturemindcoop@gmail.com.  

Open Air Village, Yellow Springs

Located on Antioch College's historic campus, children learn naturally through PLAY in our "Open Air," outdoor classroom. Our core values are respecting children, embracing diversity, community involvement, and nature education. Open Air Village is dedicated to creating a nurturing, stimulating and welcoming environment for all children. Owned and operated by Nicole and Bryan Gay, programs are run with a family feel so you can relax knowing your child is being cared for while appreciated for being themselves. We operate by the sentiment that it "takes a village" to raise a child. Open Air Village is an ODJFS Licensed center and offers Nature-Based Preschool for children ages 3-5, as well as Nature-Based programs for homeschooled or virtual students looking to enhance their education. 

The Overfield School is a private, independent school for children ages 18 months-2nd grade, located in Troy, OH. Overfield is a place where joy, wonder, and imagination foster lifelong learning in young children. The Reggio Emilia philosophy inspires our school’s mission to support discovery, creativity, and collaboration through a child-centered, responsive curriculum. A beautiful campus, committed teachers, and a supportive learning community make Overfield a place where children grow and thrive.

Shine is a small, cozy child care center located in Mt. Airy. We are housed in a  building that was formerly a home and borders on Mt. Airy Forest. Shine provides holistic, nurturing, nature-based, & child-led care. We provide 2 healthy snacks and a home-made lunch each day.We are Montessori-inspired, but not strictly Montessori. Our teachers create nature-based, play-based curriculum based on the development and the interests of the children in their class. Shine is great primarily because the people who work at Shine are wonderful. 

The Tiny Treehouse offers an experience that lets children connect with nature, build confidence, and develop social and emotional skills in a small home based environment. Weekly themes designed for learners aged 3-5 help kids explore nature through science, art, and story. We draw our inspiration from free choice, student led, play based learning environments. Our daily rhythm follows the needs of young children while remaining committed to spending the majority of our time exploring the woods, creek, and gardens.

A program to nurture Wonder, Investigation, Learning, and Discovery in every ​wild ​child.

Our part time, rain or shine program is nestled in Centerville's Bill Yeck Park, and is conducted outdoors in all safe weather conditions. 

We are committed to foster a sense of wonder and encourage a deep love and respect for nature. By immersing children in nature, and allowing a great deal of time for unstructured play, we enable the children to make their own connections, develop social/ emotional skills, and strengthen their bodies and minds. Our days our led by the interest of the children, and "chasing their spark​" to further encourage their discoveries.

Wildflower Child & Family Center is creating a high quality nature-based preschool and child care center using a child-led, process-based, and multi-generational approach.  The center will partner with other agencies and serve as a hub for educators to gather and learn, thus increasing the capacity of nature experiences for children in early childhood settings in the Miami Valley.  As we build we are partnering and coaching other programs to increase the amount of nature connection on their own campuses. If you are in the Dayton area, we would love to partner with you!  We can accomplish great things when we create spaces of belonging, growth and connection to nature! 

Central

Cottonwood Hollow Nature Preschool is opening September 2024. Cottonwood Hollow is a patch of forest full of whimsical gardens, farm animals and woodland magic located on the south-side of Columbus, right near German Village. We offer holistic early childhood education, a small class size, an indoor and outdoor classroom, natural environment as tool for learning and understanding self. The program is in-home and inspired by various teaching philosophies such as Waldorf, Emilio-Reggio and Montessori.

Red Oak Community School is an independent, nature-based, K-5 elementary school in Columbus. We offer a learner-centered approach to education for families dedicated to cultivating joy in learning, fostering self-confidence and agency, and preparing students to be environmental stewards and champions of social justice.

Northwest

Maumee Valley Country Day School's Early Learning Center is a forest school inspired program. The Early Learning Center's unique program infuses student-directed, nature-based learning with an academic curriculum that supports social-emotional learning. The program is offered to students 2.5 years old and older with part-time and full-time options for parents. 

Red Oak Community School is an independent, nature-based, K-5 elementary school in Columbus. We offer a learner-centered approach to education for families dedicated to cultivating joy in learning, fostering self-confidence and agency, and preparing students to be environmental stewards and champions of social justice.

Northeast

Cleveland Metroparks Nature Preschool serves children ages 3 - 5 and operates in Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River and North Chagrin Reservations. The program operates September through mid-May and offers 2,3, and 5 day a week options. Summer camp options are also available. The natural world is the foundation of the curriculum,  combining best practices in early-childhood education with all of the beauty and wonder offered by nature. Year-round, the children have daily opportunities to explore both the outdoor classroom and the beautiful trails of the Cleveland Metroparks, fostering a connection with nature, themselves, and each other.

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s renowned preschool programs serve children ages one to six through nature-based classes where children participate in hands-on, age-appropriate activities to support social, physical and academic development. Our educators encourage inquiry-based learning by incorporating the Center’s unique offerings including a live animal collection, a planetarium, and the surrounding Huntington Reservation parkland. Preschool programs are available in academic year sessions, summer camps, and one-time parent and child classes on select dates.

The Natural Classroom, multiple locations

The Natural Classroom is a team of passionate educators committed to delivering high quality outdoor, play-based education to the communities of the Chagrin Valley. Silver Creek runs through the forest of The West Woods, creating the perfect backdrop for our outdoor classroom.

Play and Prep Preschool is a licensed part-time program which offers both traditional and outdoor classroom options.  The Outdoor program uses nature as the foundation for a curriculum which is inquiry based and child directed.  Teachers act as responsive facilitators who promote active hands-on exploration of the environment.  Outdoor students spend 30-100% of their class time outside, all our students spend time in our Learning Garden area and practice environmental stewardship.  

Shaker Forest School serves children ages 3-5 and operates in the parks of Shaker Heights, OH.  The program offers both a 3 day or 4 day morning option operating between the months of September through May.  At Shaker Forest School, we believe that children learn best when they are personally intrigued & motivated. The forest provides an ever-changing environment that invites students to explore, wonder & inquire about the world around them. Outdoor educators act as guides and collaborators in learning, providing opportunities for your child to work on all their developmental domains, meaningfully and at their own unique pace.

TimberNook provides nature-based play experiences for children that challenge the senses and inspire creativity, independence, and imagination in the great outdoors. TimberNook of Greater Cleveland offers programs at Sugar Pines Farm in Chesterland, Ohio. 

Southeast

Solid Ground School is an independent elementary school offering progressive, place-based education in Athens, OH.  Solid Ground offers people of all ages the chance to play, to develop meaningful relationships, and to experience the transformative joy of engaging with the natural world on a 17-acre sustainable farm and recreation center in Appalachian Ohio.  At Solid Ground, we are growing connections: between people, communities, landscapes, and economies, as we seek to build an ecosystem based on cooperation, creativity, and relevant engagement with our world.

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