sprouts art and nature school

is nature school right for you?

It certainly isn’t right for everyone – but we think it’s an essential childhood experience. 

This short questionnaire will help you determine if a nature school will be a good fit for your family. 

Sprouts is a nature school, to be certain, but it is also a micro-school, an urban school, an art school, and a community.  Learn more about Sprouts here. 

1. Does your family love nature?

Seems obvious, but really think about it.  Do you seek out nature experiences as a family? Do you discuss the importance of nature at home? No one is required to love every single bit of nature – but embracing the rougher aspects as well as the beautiful ones is an important part of nature school.  Kids in nature school encounter mosquitoes and wasps, mud and sand, fungi and slugs; they will also develop a fondness for insects, appreciation for pollinators, experience in composting and gardening, and a tolerance for all types of weather. 

children and nature

Are we supporting the connection?

2. Does your family embrace a mess?

There is one part of nature school that is sure to come home with the kids every day: dirt.  Sometimes mud, or sand, or rocks.  Sometimes pollen, or seeds, or gunk that no one is quite sure what it is.  But always dirt.  Dirty clothes, dirty coats, dirty shoes, dirty hands and faces.  At Sprouts, we consider the dirt a sign of a great day exploring in nature!  

benefits of mud play

It's not just okay, it's important.

dirt is good

Why kids need exposure to germs.

3. Does your family value play time?

Kids in nature school are not getting a typical academic-focused early childhood education. They aren’t doing flash cards or worksheets.  They aren’t focusing on a shape, letter, or color each week.  What they are doing is learning through play.  They are finding out what happens to the plants and animals through the seasons.  They are learning how to find and care for insects, how to grow plants, how to learn from their surroundings.  They are learning problem solving, risk taking, and appreciation for our planet.  And they are playing – the most important work of childhood.

5 proven benefits of play

Writing a prescription for play.

10 things

every parent should know about play

4. Does your family value positive risk-taking?

Does your child learn an important lesson by falling? We believe they do.  Kids are natural risk-takers – it’s the only way to learn what you are capable of  – and they begin with physical risks.  As they grow and change they develop confidence, body awareness, muscle tone, and balance by attempting new physical feats – whether they are successful or not.  Unsuccessful attempts offer kids lessons in resilience, patience, and grit.  Success offers confidence, purpose, and skill.   

risky play in early childhood

Risk taking is an important part of childhood.

benefits of risk taking

in the classroom

what's your result?

The results should be pretty clear : kids at Sprouts love nature, get messy, don’t participate in rigorous academics, and take risks.  We’d love to tell you more about why nature school is right for EVERY kid: Benefits of Art & Nature School.