Nature Preschool Outdoor-based Childcare Program in Richmond
On March 12, the Richmond Review reported on Nature Preschool, Richmond’s first outdoor-based childcare program, which will open this fall at Terra Nova Rural Park, with funding through Thompson Community Centre, Richmond Schoolyard Society and the City of Richmond. Emily Vera and Kate Dawson, directors of the non-profit Nature Preschool, believe that stimulating and encouraging a child’s imagination is essential to a healthy development. “The curriculum will be driven by what we’re seeing on the natural landscape,” Dawson said. “We will study all of the natural animals that inhabit that area, seasonal changes and pay attention to the gifts that nature has.”
The Review reported that the program will be focused on inquisitive learning, largely driven by the children’s curiosity and what sparks their attention outdoors each day. Vera and Dawson hope to share the simplicity of nature while also creating a greater sense of community.
The program is geared to embrace the outdoors and aims to spend the majority of the scheduled time outside, including a significant gardening component. A restored Edwardian cottage on the north dyke will be the classroom site of Nature Preschool, facing on the 63-acre Terra Nova Rural Park as its “back yard”. Dawson and Vera hope the children involved will come away from the program with a love of learning, a passion for the outdoors and a greater sense of community.