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Sprouts is an urban nature micro-preschool - that you won't find any place else.

The history


Sprouts Family Daycare opens as a group home daycare in Caity’s central Champaign home, licensed by Illinois DCFS for up to 16 children – including Caity’s three children and Ellen’s very new baby.


Sprouts makes the move to 1403 W Springfield Ave – still in the heart of Champaign – and now licensed as a Daycare Center by Illinois DCFS for 18 children.


Sprouts continues to merge play, nature, and art for children. With a focus on urban nature, process-based art, and extended free play, Sprouts hopes to inspire imagination, wonder, and interest in nature in the community .

Sprouts offers preschool classes on a school year schedule.

Sprouts offers full-day preschool classes from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm including lunch, between August and May each year, for children ages two years through six years in Champaign, IL.
Sprouts offers Morning Preschool classes from 8:00 am to 11:00 am to children ages two years through six years from August to May in Champaign, IL.
Sprouts offers afternoon preschool classes for children ages three to six years from 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm between August & May each year.

Sprouts offers several add-on options for extended care to make Sprouts more accessible.

Sprouts offers extended-day programming, including Early Mornings, in which full-day or morning preschool students may arrive as early as 7:00 am prior to their 8:00 am preschool class start time. Early Mornings is for children ages two through six years in Champaign, IL.
Sprouts Lunch program extends morning or afternoon preschool and runs from 11:00 am - 12:30 pm daily for children two- to six-years-old.
Sprouts offers extended-day programming including Late Afternoons, in which children ages two years through six years may stay following afternoon or full-day preschool from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm between August & May.
Sprouts Art & Nature School offers morning, full-day, and afternoon preschool classes with extended-day programming available.
Sprouts Art & Nature School offers morning, full-day and afternoon preschool options with extended day programming available.

Led by mother nature, discovered by children, facilitated by teachers.

At Sprouts, we bring art & nature together for children to connect the creativity of art with the beauty of nature, building a core appreciation of each. We play hard, learn to fall, and celebrate getting back up!

One of many visitors to the Sprouts Pollinator Garden - a pipevine, or blue, swallowtail butterfly on a pink zinnia.
One of the many projects at Sprouts Art & Nature School is assisting Monarch butterflies in their life cycle and migration by growing milkweed, finding and housing monarch caterpillars through their chrysalis phase, and releasing full grown Monarch Butterflies.


August - October


Each summer we find caterpillars, veggies, prairie flowers, bugs, and many other interesting things.
One autumn art project at Sprouts includes dipping fall foliage in wax to create stunning bouquets of unusual items.


October - December


In fall the leaves, spiders, gourds, and trees spark our interest.
Sprouts preschoolers are always creating process-based art projects like this one - a winter snowflake using buttons and other white pieces.


January - March


Ice and snow, birds and squirrels abound every winter.
Children in Sprouts Preschool are learning to protect the environment and our world - like the child in this photo, who is protecting a tiny sprout with their cupped hand.


March - May


In spring, the gardens, frogs, flowers and worms return for us to rediscover.
At Sprouts, we spend almost all of our time in free play outdoors. The schedule is simple: play, eat, play.

full day preschool

morning preschool

afternoon preschool

early mornings

Children enrolled in full-day preschool or morning preschool may enroll in early mornings to arrive for their program at 7:00 am.
Spaces limited.

Sprouts lunch

Children from morning and afternoon preschools may join us for lunch! Morning preschoolers stay until 12:30 pm & afternoon preschoolers may arrive at 11:00 am.

late afternoons

Children enrolled in full-day preschool or afternoon preschool may enroll in late afternoons and stay after their program until 4:30 pm.
Spaces limited.

schedule elements

At Sprouts Art & Nature Preschool, kids spend the days mainly outside - like this child, pictured holding her bowl of homemade mud soup.

free play

At Sprouts children spend most of their time in free play on the nature playground – and occasionally the indoor classrooms –  building, creating, and playing with natural loose parts. From arrival to departure, many children choose to spend most of their day at play. 

On the Sprouts nature playground, children can read books outside among the flowers in the Pollinator Garden.

snacks & stories

Mid-morning and mid-afternoon, children are invited to eat a snack and listen to a story depicting the topic of interest. Children are not required to participate, but most enjoy the discussion and new discoveries. 

At Sprouts, children ages two through six enjoy creating art in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes, including these children creating mini-murals on the Sprouts fence.


During the play period children are also invited in small groups to participate in a process-based art project. Creating sculptures from homemade clay, preserving autumn color leaves in wax, and choreographing a butterfly ballet are just a few of the many projects created at Sprouts.


Ready to begin your journey with Sprouts?