Serving children ages 3.9 - 5, the Cooperative Nature School is a child-driven, outdoor-oriented preschool.
My child’s teachers are simply excellent. Their level of knowledge and experience shines through .
- Nature School Parent, 2022
Goals & Vision
The Cooperative Nature School is a child-driven, outdoor-oriented preschool that cultivates exploration, compassion and community.
The Cooperative Nature School at The Trustees Moose Hill Farm aims for its children to become curious, thoughtful, active learners who love the outdoors and who believe in celebrating and protecting it. By partnering with families, the school creates a strong community that transcends the preschool years and protects the distinct character of our communities by inspiring a commitment to environmental education.
The Cooperative at Moose Hill Farm believes in the benefits of child-centered, nature-based learning. Through effective observation strategies and through questions children present, teachers come to understand the unique characteristics each child brings. We believe that a child’s interest, strengths and needs drive learning in the domain areas of language, mathematics, arts, science and technology, social studies, fine and gross motor skill, and social emotional growth. The curriculum philosophy is aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Pre-Kindergarten to Twelve. The developmentally based and child directed curriculum is fluid and dynamic.
The critical role of the environment is also very important. Educators facilitate outdoor experiences along with open-ended activities in a project approach. Documentation through examples of children’s work hung around halls and classrooms and daily blog posts to families full of pictures serve to make learning visible, spark discussion, extend ideas and further learning into the home and beyond.
Curriculum goals for the children
Infuse children with a desire to discover, explore and learn about our world.
Help develop the world of the child (in all domains – cognitive, physical, social, emotional, aesthetic, and spiritual) and the development of an ecological identity or environmental ethic.
Help children develop self-efficacy skills with opportunities to discover their personal strengths.
Develop kindergarten readiness:
- Literacy: Skills including understanding the relationship between oral language and print; understanding the basis of our alphabetic system; building strong phonemic awareness and vocabulary, developing enthusiasm for books and story telling and engaging in purposeful writing.
- Math: Develop foundational skills in math including counting with one-to-one correspondence, understanding cardinality, subtilizing, making estimations, categorizing, measuring, and using math daily for practical purposes.
- Science: Life & earth sciences sciences with an emphasis on local flora & fauna, seasonal changes, weather, the cyclical nature of growth and reproducation (plants, insects, frogs, salamanders, etc). Understanding and applying the principles of scientific inquiry such as making hypotheses, testing theories, collecting data, verifying and documenting results.
- Technology & engineering: Skills through the planning and building of structures and obstacles courses with blocks, ramps, planks, sticks, rocks, tires and other elements and engaging in guided reflections on cause and effect and the principals of mechanical physics.
- Social studies: Understanding concepts of identity, community and our inter-connectedness; exploring traditions, cultures and fellowship within and among our families and how we care for one another through acts of compassion and service.
Develop foundational skills including large and fine motor skills, self-regulation, learning to follow directions, and learning how to think through problems.
Develop the ability for children to advocate only not for their own needs and interests but also those of their community.
How is progress measured?
Documentation through examples of children’s work, teacher observations, portfolios and embedded assessment are all tools that demonstrate student progress. This and other information is shared at parent-teacher conferences, held twice yearly.
How will I know what my child is doing all day?
Examples of students work, posted in the around hallways, classrooms and on documentation boards and daily blogposts to families full of pictures serve to make learning visible, spark discussion, extend ideas and further learning.
What about Kindergarten readiness?
The curriculum is aligned with the Massachusetts Common Core State Standards (the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Pre-Kindergarten to Twelve). Additionally Nature School has a strong relationship with Sharon Public Schools and in particular its Early Learning Program (The Children's Center). Our school consistently receives positive feedback from parents and Sharon school staff regarding the Kindergarten readiness of Nature School graduates.
I picked up our daughter today from the last day at Nature School and I had tears in my eyes. I could barely say 'Thank you' thinking this is it. The end of perhaps the best school that she will ever have.
- Former mom of a student class of 2020
Learn more about how to apply and enroll your child.
Get in touch