sprouts art and nature school


The Sprouts curriculum puts nature and art at the forefront of our play.

We spend our extended play periods in our outdoor and indoor environments with our carefully curated selection of toys, materials, and art supplies. Our materials bring nature to our inside play and art to our outside play.

This extra experience with nature leads to an appreciation and connection that puts responsibility squarely on our human shoulders. And the frequent interaction with our art materials and expressive projects leads to creativity born of use.

This, in balance with our philosophy, promotes creativity and responsibility at Sprouts. Children that experience extended free play in nature grow an appreciation that lasts a lifetime.


This curriculum was developed for Sprouts School by Caity & Ellen across five years of implementation. The seasons and natural events, the months of the year, and Midwest biomes all play into the activities and discussions, while still being flexible to accommodate the interests and social events of the group. Our outdoor exploration is supplemented with books, songs, and creative art projects that offer a deeper understanding of each natural event and focus.

Not every Nature event we study has non-fiction picture books for preschoolers, so we’re writing our own. Whimsical felt characters and photo backgrounds illustrate these short informational texts written in rhyming verse.  You can find our books on Amazon or order directly from Sprouts.

Log Jam; on the Sangamon

Slugs; Your Friend the Gastropod

seasons of study

The Sprouts curriculum isn’t exactly student-led. It’s more like Nature-led.  Our interests are peaked by events outside – changing of seasons, animals and bugs, flowers and produce – and we delve deeper what we’re most excited about.



academic instruction

You may notice that there are several things that are not specifically covered in our Sprouts curriculum – namely academic skills. As Early Childhood Educators, we believe that childhood is a special time during which our core values take root. At no other point in life are humans so invested in the wonders of our Earth and at no other time do those wonders have the same impact. Learning about life through discovery of nature is the foundation of childhood – and there is plenty of time for academics later. You can read more about our methods in our philosophy.


Our curriculum is based in extended periods of free play highlighted by art and nature experiences.