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Children and Family Programs

Little Trees Nature-Based Early Learning Program

Play, explore, discover, and learn in our nine-month nature-based early-childhood program.

Content Detail

Nature-based Early Learning Program (3–5 years old)

Children will discover the wonder and beauty found within the Arboretum’s 1,700 acres as they play, learn, and grow in this nine-month, nature-based early-childhood program. Exploring nature through the changing seasons provides the perfect landscape for fostering adaptive life skills while laying a foundation for a continuous love of learning.

The mission of Little Trees is to help young children develop a deep and meaningful relationship with the natural world through outdoor play and emergent discovery. The Little Trees curriculum is seasonally-based and interest-driven.

Through natural curiosity, a child may wonder about the leaves changing color, the sudden appearance of a puddle, fresh animal tracks in the snow, or the appearance of migrating birds flying overhead.

These daily explorations and provocations complement what is occurring within the natural environment, turning these phenomena into investigative themes. As young student scientists, children use field guides, tools and natural materials to delve into these topics while engaging in activities that build physical, social-emotional, and cognitive skills. This approach fuels organically created experiences all year—deeply resonant events born from the children’s innate curiosity and connection to the natural world around them.

Enrollment for the 2023-24 school year will open in January. Contact Meg Gessler to register or for more information on the program.

Roots Class (3-yr-olds): Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Saplings Class (4-yr-olds): Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Trees Class (mixed ages 4- and 5-yr-olds): Mondays through Thursdays, 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Morton Arboretum provides an unparalleled location for nature-based learning. Children will discover the wonder and beauty found within the Arboretum’s 1,700 acres. Situated on the rolling Valparaiso moraine and bisected by the East Branch of the DuPage River, the Arboretum is home to forests, creeks, savannahs, prairies, and lakes, all of which provide a rich natural environment for exploration and learning. Experienced instructors trained in nature-based education will share their enthusiasm for the natural world with the children on their daily explorations through the varied environments.

During outdoor exploration, children frequently have the opportunity to observe native wildlife, including white-tailed deer, red-eared sliders, sunfish, bullfrogs, red-tailed hawks, monarch butterflies, and hundreds more. Our quaint classroom, tucked inside the historic Thornhill Education Center, will serve as our home base and provide space for learning stations, dramatic play, art, reading, writing, blocks, and science experiments.

Tuition

The fee is per child. This program is exclusive to Arboretum members. Sessions run from September 5, 2023, to May 10, 2024. The limit is 12 children per session with two instructors. Tuition is paid in three installments: a 15% nonrefundable deposit is required to secure space in the program. The remaining two payments are each 42.5% of the tuition.

  • Roots Class (3-yr-olds): Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (must be three by September 1, 2023) $3,200
  • Saplings Class (4-yr-olds): Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (must be four by September 1, 2023) $4,500
  • Trees Class (mixed ages 4-5): Mondays through Thursdays, 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (must be four by September 1, 2023) $5,600

Enrollment Deposit

A 15 percent nonrefundable deposit is required to secure space in the program. The remaining two payments are each 42.5% of the tuition. The deposit will be refunded if The Morton Arboretum cancels the program for any reason.

Refund and Cancelation Policy

Fees are nonrefundable and nontransferable. A full refund will be issued in the event that The Morton Arboretum cancels a class section for any reason. Refunds will be issued by check if the original payment was made by cash or check, or by credit to the same credit card used to make the original payment.

Request More Information
630-719-2462
mgessler@mortonarb.org

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