The Trustees and The Sharon Cooperative School have created of a nature-based preschool, the first of its kind in Sharon, at The Trustees Moose Hill Farm property located at 396 Moose Hill Street which opened in September 2018

The Cooperative Nature School at The Trustees Moose Hill Farm is a collaborative effort between both organizations designed to enhance traditional, classroom child-based learning and play activities with outdoor based programming that helps children foster a sense of exploration, creative expression, and discovery. The Trustees provide space for the preschool in the original farmhouse located on the property, as well as a dedicated nature-based educator. The preschool is operated by the Sharon Cooperative School which currently runs a popular preschool in Sharon. Serving children from many local communities, and with a team of highly skilled, experienced educators, this 42-year-old Cooperative-based preschool cultivates a network of families, creating a community linked by friendship, respect, and children through family participation in a child-centered educational environment.

“We are thrilled to be able to collaborate with the Sharon Cooperative School to create this new, nature-based preschool at our beautiful Moose Hill Farm property,” says Barbara Erickson, Trustees President and CEO. “This new school represents our shared beliefs that children thrive academically, mentally, physically, and socially when they spend more time playing, learning, and exploring in the great outdoors.”

As the nation’s first and Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation nonprofit with 116 natural and historic sites and over 5,000 educational programs annually, The Trustees have a long partnered with local educational organizations and school groups to provide environmental education opportunities, including leasing and lending space for educational programs. This is The Trustees’ first nature-based preschool collaboration.

“We are excited to partner with The Trustees on this innovative collaboration,” says Abigail Marsters, Executive Director of the Sharon Cooperative School. “Both of our organizations hold a similar passion for and commitment to education and believe in the benefits of child-centered, outdoors-based learning in a nurturing environment are important, if not necessary elements in developing the whole child.”

Set on 347 acres with trails, fields, and an active livestock operation, Moose Hill Farm is an ideal setting for learning and exploration. More than 50% of the preschool programming will take place in the outdoors with ongoing opportunities for children to explore the changing landscape and various habitats around the farm, including meadows, wetlands and trails. Emphasis will be placed on inspiring curious, thoughtful, active learners who develop a love for the outdoors and believe in celebrating and protecting it through diverse hands-on learning activities. From learning to create a kitchen garden, manage a composting site, and how to keep trails clear and accessible, kids will have multiple hands-on, experience-based opportunities to explore, discover, create, play, exercise, and socialize in a safe, nurturing environment.

The curriculum philosophy of the Cooperative Nature School at the Trustees Moose Hill Farm is aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Pre-Kindergarten to 12, incorporating a developmentally-based and child-directed program that is fluid and dynamic, with an emphasis on the critical role of the environment in fostering independence, individuality, and compassion for others and nature. Educators will facilitate regular outdoor experiences along with open-ended activities using a project-based approach. Children’s work will be shared inside the school halls and classrooms and through daily blog posts to families to promote connection, community, and continued learning in the home.

Registration is now open for the school year, with a capacity of up to 30 children between the ages of 3.9 and 5 years old. All pre-school families will receive a one-year Trustees Family Membership as a benefit of enrolling. For more information, email or call the school at 781-806-6156 ext. 7.

The Cooperative Nature School at The Trustees Moose Hill Farm admits students of any race, color, national origin, ethnic origin, gender, gender identity, religion, cultural heritage, or disability to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnic origin, gender, gender identity, religion, cultural heritage, political beliefs, marital status, sexual orientation, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and other school­administered programs.

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