Frequently Asked Questions

Q. WHY NATURE PRESCHOOL?

A. Nature preschools are a special breed of preschool.  A growing body of research shows that frequent play in nature stimulates all of a child’s developmental domains, including their cognitive, creative, physical, social and emotional, and spiritual development, preparing children to succeed in school and in life.

Nature preschools have all the same child development goals that more traditional schools have, but they also are committed to accomplishing those goals through experiences in and with nature, and have an added goal of helping children begin to develop care and concern for the natural world.

 

Nature Preschools offer young children frequent experiences to learn and play in nature, and have a compelling impact on child development and well-being, while laying the foundation for environmental literacy and stewardship values. Early childhood is a critical time in life to provide opportunities to spend time playing outdoors, building upon children’s inherent curiosity and love of nature.  Studies show that environmental stewardship is born from an emotional connection to nature, which often develops in early childhood. In fact, over 35 years of studies from around the world show that the single most common influence on adult stewardship values comes from unstructured, frequent childhood play in wild settings.

Q. WILL NATURE PRESCHOOL PREPARE MY CHILD FOR KINDERGARTEN?

A. Yes. Greenhouse Nature School has the same early childhood development goals of traditional preschools and kindergartens, but will accomplish these goals through meaningful, authentic experiences in nature. Utilizing integrated academic and social curriculum grounded in nature, GNS nurtures the well-being of each child while preparing them to succeed in school and in life.

Q. WILL THERE BE ACADEMICS?

A. Yes. Greenhouse Nature School integrates academic and social curriculum into each day, through experiences grounded in nature. GNS strives to achieve industry-standard benchmarks for early childhood development, and goes beyond these to include the many benefits of immersion in nature.

Q. WHAT IS THE TEACHER:CHILD RATIO?

A. 1:4 when outdoors; minimum 1:8 when indoors. 2 qualified caregivers are on the premises at all times.

Q. WHAT IS THE ENROLLMENT PROCESS?

A.  1. Attend an Open House/Tour or Schedule a Phone Call with Greenhouse’s Program Director
We encourage all interested families to attend an Open House event on [dates TBA and will be posted here and on the Home page]. This registration will also act as a free, no-risk, pre-application opportunity to guarantee your space in line, should you choose to apply to our school. If these dates do not work for you, we ask you to reach out to Vanya Schroeder at greenhousenatureschool@gmail.com so we know you are interested in applying to GNS. 

The Open House events will meet at the school address and will be an opportunity to meet staff, and take a tour of the schoolrooms and grounds. Children are encouraged to attend the Open House.

2. Submit an Application

After the Open House, if you feel that Greenhouse Nature School is the right fit for your child and your family, the next step is to submit an application to enter our applicant pool. Applications will be available at the Open House events or can be filled out online.

 

3. Interview with Us

Upon receipt of your application, GNS will contact you to schedule a time that is convenient for you to meet Vanya Schroeder, the Head Teacher and Director. This will start the journey of getting to know each other. Every applicant must participate in an interview. Children are welcome, but there won’t be separate childcare provided.

4. Submit Enrollment forms and deposit


Once offered admission into the program, you can enroll your child in Greenhouse Nature School, by completing your enrollment packet, including a student contract, and paying your deposit. In addition, we require your child’s health and immunization records for enrollment. Providing your enrollment forms with the enrollment deposit will reserve a space for your child. To enroll, families must return their enrollment packet and the required deposit within 10 business days of receiving the admissions offer.

email greenhousenatureschool@gmail.com to set up a phone call or visit.

Applications to Greenhouse Nature School will be accepted regardless of race, color, sex, religion, handicap, political persuasion, national origin or ancestry.

Q. WHAT HAPPENS ON A RAINY OR SNOWY DAY?

 

A. For young children, rain and snow can be as much fun as a sunny day, as long as they are dressed appropriately. GNS will engage in learning outdoors on rainy and snowy days, so please make sure to always pack a waterproof layer for your child.  GNS follows the Child Care Weather Watch guidelines and in the event of lightning or extreme weather, we will retreat indoors.

Inclement weather closings: GNS will not operate when snow or extreme weather create conditions which are dangerous for young children and their families to travel to and from school. In making the decision to close, we will follow the lead of the Baraboo School District. GNS will also send out updates via text and email.

 

Q. HOW MUCH TIME WILL MY CHILD SPEND OUTSIDE?

 

A. Children will spend at least half of the day outdoors, except in the event of lightning or extreme weather, in which case we will retreat indoors to our cozy school rooms.

Q. WHAT IF I DON’T WANT MY CHILD TO ATTEND EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK?

A. The research shows that children benefit the most from frequent and consistent experiences in nature. To this end, GNS will give priority to families that can participate 4 days per week, although we will accept families for 2 days per week (M/W or Tu/Th).

Q. DOES MY CHILD NEED TO BE POTTY TRAINED TO ATTEND?

A. Yes, children need to be potty trained in order to attend.

Q. HOW MUCH STRUCTURE WILL THERE BE?

A. The program aims to strike a healthy balance between predictable daily routines, group activities, teacher-led curriculum, and plenty of time for open-ended nature play and exploration.

 

 

 

 

 

Q. WILL MY CHILD COME HOME WET AND MUDDY?

A. Yes. Children love to experience whatever elements exist in nature, whether it’s a snowy hill, a mud puddle, or a quiet meadow. GNS staff allow children to play and learn through experiencing nature first-hand, which often leaves kids wet and muddy. We ask parents to dress children appropriately for the weather and keep a second set of clothes at the school.

Q. WHAT CLOTHING WILL MY CHILD NEED?

A. Appropriate clothing that keeps children warm, dry, and protected from the elements is critical to their comfort and well-being. Clothing needs will vary according to season and weather conditions but generally should include the following:

1) rain or snow pants
2) jacket
3) waterproof boots
4) quality waterproof mittens
5) insulating hat or sun hat
6) multiple insulating layers

Q. WILL MY CHILD EVER BE UNSUPERVISED?

A. No. Children will never be unsupervised. Teacher ratios are maintained at 8:1 with always a minimum of 2 adults at the school at all times.

Q. DO STAFF HAVE FIRST AID TRAINING?

A. Yes. All staff have first aid, CPR, Standard Precautions and Medication Administration training and comprehensive first aid kits are at hand at all times.

Q. HOW WILL I KNOW HOW MY CHILD IS DOING?

 

A. GNS has desired goals and outcomes for children that relate to both early childhood development and environmental literacy. Teachers will document children’s learning and assess outcomes on a regular basis, through ongoing observations and students’ works. Student assessment will allow teachers to:

  • Follow each child’s progress

  • Celebrate children’s work

  • Inform emergent curriculum

  • Share assessments with parents

GNS values open communication with families and will share information and student assessments through:

  • Parent / teacher conferences- 2 times per year

  • Monthly program emails with photos

  • Daily availability to talk at drop-off and pick-up

 

Q. WHEN DOES THE SCHOOL YEAR BEGIN? WHAT HOLIDAYS DOES THE SCHOOL OBSERVE?

 

A. Greenhouse Nature School meets all year-round with some exceptions.  

Holidays and School breaks when Center is closed:

  • Labor Day

  • Thanksgiving Holidays (Th & F)  

  • Christmas Eve (fees waived for this day)

  • Christmas Day

  • New Year's Day

  • Winter Break (center is closed from February 13 - February 28th; fees waived during the break)

Inclement weather closings

Greenhouse Nature School will not operate when snow or extreme weather create conditions which are dangerous for young children and their families to travel to and from school. In making the decision to close, we will follow the lead of the Baraboo School District.

Q. DOES THE SCHOOL SCHEDULE INCLUDE SPECIAL EVENTS OR FAMILY/TEACHER CONFERENCES?

 

A. The school maintains a calendar of events and conferences to build a vibrant school community. Events include celebrations to mark each season, potlucks, and a picnic to end the school year. The Director, Vanya Schroeder, asks to meet with parents twice annually for a brief conference.

 

Q. WHAT ARE THE AGES OF CHILDREN ACCEPTED?

 

A. Children ages 3 through 6 can attend GNS.  Group size is maintained at a maximum ratio of 8 children per 1 adult. Children must be three years old by their start date and fully toilet trained in order to attend the preschool.

 

Q. WHERE IS THE SCHOOL LOCATED?

 

A. Greenhouse Nature School is located near North Freedom, a 20-minute drive from Baraboo and Reedsburg town centers.

 

Q. WHO ARE THE TEACHERS?

 

A. Please refer to our Our Teachers page under About Us.

 

Q. HOW LARGE ARE THE CLASSES?

 

A. The group size is a maximum of 8 children with 1 caregiver.

 

Q. ARE TUITION SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE?

 

A. Because of our small size, Greenhouse Nature School is unable to provide tuition scholarships or financial aid at this time but we encourage you to reach out to our Director to discuss any situation which might prevent attendance for a family with a sincere desire to enroll a child at GNS.

 

Q. CAN I ATTEND AN OPEN HOUSE?

 

A. Yes, we encourage all interested families to attend an Open House event on [dates TBA and will be posted here and on the Home page]. This registration will also act as a free, no-risk, pre-application opportunity to guarantee your space in line, should you choose to apply to our school. If these dates do not work for you, we ask you to reach out to Vanya Schroeder at greenhousenatureschool@gmail.com so we know you are interested in applying to GNS. 

The Open House events will meet at the school address and will be an opportunity to meet staff, and take a tour of the schoolrooms and grounds. Children are encouraged to attend the Open House.

 

Q. WHO DO I CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION?

 

A. Vanya Schroeder, School Director,  608-717-9112

greenhousenatureschool@gmail.com