A new preschool opening up on the Lower East Side will give little ones an alternative way to learn by getting their hands dirty in the soil every day. Slated to open this September, Elements Preschool, designed by Central Landscape Architecture, will be the first nature-based urban school focused around a vegetated outdoor classroom in NYC. Through exploring and learning around the 3,500-square-foot backyard space, kids will be able to hone their creative thinking skills while also having some good old-fashioned fun outside.
Opening at 99 Suffolk Street near Delancey Street, the new school will combine bright and open classrooms with a landscaped backyard filled with various types of vegetation. Based on the popular European forest school model, Elements Preschool will flow between its indoor and outdoor areas to expose kids to both traditional and innovative learning experiences.
The nature-based program will include various nature activities for kids to enjoy and learn from. The Woodland Walk will replicate a deciduous forest right in the middle of New York City. A council ring will double as a slightly more structured outdoor classroom, providing an open air place to learn during warmer months. An observation corner will allow kids to track insects and the cycle of butterflies. Kids will also learn to grow and harvest their own fresh fruits and vegetables to learn the value of growing healthy foods from seed to fruit. A giant dirt hill will no doubt provide countless hours of fun too and will be perfect for rolling down, making mud pies and playing king of the hill.