Camp McDowell’s nature preschool off to a solid start

By LEA RIZZO, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 9/17/16

CAMP McDOWELL — Magnolia Nature School at Camp McDowell allows students to learn through a variety of nature-based activities.

“We’re learning all sorts of things!” preschool director …

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Camp McDowell’s nature preschool off to a solid start

Posted

CAMP McDOWELL — Magnolia Nature School at Camp McDowell allows students to learn through a variety of nature-based activities.

“We’re learning all sorts of things!” preschool director Madeleine Pearce said. “We’re learning about what’s going on around us.”

Thanks to the warm weather, students are able to spend the majority of their days outside, learning about butterflies, caterpillars, trees, plants and animals, among other things.

Students are able to learn counting through things like rock collecting and learn to identify letters of the alphabets through scavenger hunts.

“We have what we call our morning meeting and talk about things of the day, things we might be interested in and what we think we might like to do for the day. And that’s how we plan our day,” Pearce said.

Camp McDowell’s website describes the nature preschool as “child centered, yet adult guided.”

The preschool currently has five students between ages three and five but new students are still being accepted.

Pearce said the 3 to 5 age range is working out well for the preschool because “they help each other out, they help teach each other.”

When school starts for the day, students are led through morning yoga, complete with animals poses, followed by the morning meeting where the day’s activities are decided. Then the kids and teachers head outside to learn.

Lunch is often eaten outside. Students return to the classroom around 2 p.m. and read stories and take naps.

Most of the day is spent outside and the nature preschool makes use of McDowell’s ample grounds, whether it’s trekking through the woods, playing in streams, going for a swim in the pool or feeding animals on the farm.

Pearce encouraged parents to bring their child and spend a day with the preschool class to see if it’s a good fit for their child and see what the nature school teaches.

Magnolia Nature School follows the guidelines set out by the state of Alabama to promote kindergarten readiness and follows the same school calendar as the Winston County School System.

Those interested in the cost of or registering their children for Magnolia Nature Preschool can contact Madeleine Pearce by calling 205-792-1969 or emailing mcdowellpreschool@campmcdowell.com.