Elements Preschool is literally and figuratively planting seeds for a brand new nature-based urban preschool set to open in September 2015. Located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the preschool will blend bright and airy classrooms with a landscaped outdoor area, allowing children to experience classes that flow smoothly between indoor and outdoor experiences. Elements Preschool uses the New York common core curriculum for their kids, but also combines the core classes with nature-based classes inspired by the forest school model, making for a well-rounded educational experience for young children. The space will be very unique due to about 3,500 square-feet of outdoor space — a surprisingly large amount for an urban school. Plus, this won’t be just another outdoor area. Elements will offer, in essence, a series of ‘outdoor classes’ offering varying levels of nature experiences, such as the Woodland Walk, where children can experience a deciduous forest, a fruit and veggie garden the kids can use for growing and learning, dirt hills and even an outdoor observation center.

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The new school is designed by Central Landscape Architecture, who are working in collaboration with Element’s founder, Shilpa Sethi, who says, “My vision to reconnect children with nature in our urban setting has been translated perfectly by Central Landscape Architecture. I expect when the backyard is realized in the summer, the project will exceed my expectations and I am excited to see how the space will continue to develop over time.” This design idea is perfect for kids nowadays, who sadly spend far too much time inside instead of outside playing. Plus research shows that kids learn better and have less stress when exposed to nature areas. According to Elements Preschool’s press announcement, the school will feature nature inspired early learning that will allow children to build on skills from week to week, learning at their own pace, all while having the means and freedom to explore a beautiful outside environment. Elements will open for a summer camp session in July 2015 and is accepting enrollments for ages 2–5 for the September 2015 school year, plus will offer an after school program for kids ages 3–6 years. Learn more at the Element’s Preschool website.

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