Fenner Nature Preschool implements a child-led and nature-based curriculum. Teachers observe the interests of our students and the changes happening in nature to develop a unique curriculum that is inspired by Reggio Emilia.


Nature based programs are guided by best practices in early childhood education and environmental education, thus allowing children to learn and grow socially, emotionally, and academically while simultaneously developing a deep and meaningful connection with the natural world. We utilize every inch of Sycamore Creek’s 53 acre outdoor area to meet the needs of the whole child. 


The Reggio Emilia approach to early education is inspired by the form of education that was begun after World War II in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Parents and educators began an enriching new way to teach young minds through child-led activities, exploration of the environment, and spontaneous discovery of the natural world.


Provocations are open-ended activities set up within the indoor and outdoor environments that do not have a prescribed outcome. Provocations are an integral part of the Reggio Emilia approach because they allow and encourage children to experience the world for themselves without being overtly guided by a teacher or parent. Provocations are created with children’s interests in mind and designed to provoke thought, ideas and action.


The environment acts as a “third teacher” at Fenner Nature Preschool and we provide natural, recycled, and purposeful man-made materials. Through these varied materials, children will explore, create, share, and reflect from spontaneous learning and collaborative, project based work. The role of the adult is to provide a welcoming environment that encourages children to freely explore their world and to guide the children in taking ownership of their learning endeavors.


Standard Enrollment children will have two (two hour) discovery sessions each day. Extended Enrollment children will have an additional (75 minute) discovery session each day. During this time, the children will be working both independently and collaboratively according to their current developmental stages and interests without “time limits”, “off limits”, or deadlines. Discovery sessions are directed by the children’s mapping meetings so that each day the session opportunities are guided by child interest and inquiry. 

These sessions give children opportunities to build concentration and allow for intellectual exploration, which then results in the most significant progression and growth. The conclusion of these work periods leaves the child with a feeling of peace and calm satisfaction. We strive to carry out explorative projects so that no questions are left unanswered and no learning cut short. This fluidity grants our children the opportunity for a largely unlimited capacity to learn.