Parents interested in learning more about the new Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center are invited to attend one of two information sessions scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m. or Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. at the Ijams Visitor Center, 2915 Island Home Ave.
Scheduled to open in fall 2018, the Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center will focus on child-led, age-appropriate, experiential learning for children ages three – five.
“Ijams is committed to encouraging and inspiring people of all ages to appreciate and care for the natural world,” Ijams Nature Education Director Jennifer Roder said. “Studies show that teaching young children about nature and encouraging nature play not only helps them develop and learn in fun and engaging atmosphere but also helps them develop a conservation ethic that will last throughout their lives.”
A nature-based preschool blends traditional education standards with the opportunity to learn about and explore the natural world. Children will spend most of the school day outdoors as they learn through play, discovery and inquiry.
While they take part in age-appropriate and experiential learning opportunities, they will build a deeper bond with nature.
The Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center will align with and take inspiration from Waldorf Education principles, which focus on developing the whole child. Activities will provide sensory experiences with live animals, natural objects, artifacts, trail activities and art materials; encourage curiosity, cognitive growth and motor skills through unstructured, child-led outdoor adventures; build problem-solving, math and engineering skills through hands-on experiences; and cultivate social skills through group play and cooperative learning opportunities.
Ijams Nature Center also is hosting eight weeks of Nature Preschool Day Camp in summer 2018. Camps will be offered in morning and afternoon sessions each week starting June 4.
The morning session runs from 9 a.m. – noon; the afternoon session runs from 1-4 p.m. Enrollment is open now. To register for Nature Preschool Day Camp, call 577-4717, ext. 114.
For more information about the Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center and the upcoming information sessions, visit www.ijams.org/nature-preschool.
Ijams Nature Center is a nonprofit, 315-acre educational nature center for all ages, abilities and walks of life. Located just three miles from downtown Knoxville, Ijams features 12 miles of hiking and mixed-use trails, a public access river dock, swimming, boating, biking and more.
The Ijams grounds and trails are open every day from 8 a.m. until dusk. The Visitor Center is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.Ijams.org or call 577-4717.
The next session following the first Preschool event will be a children’s program called Nature’s Nuggets. Visit ijams.org for more information.

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