mission and philosophy

Natural Start Preschool at South Bellevue Community Center

Natural Start Preschool offers a unique nature-based curriculum that meets the developmental needs of preschoolers ages 3 to 5 while teaching them about nutrition, physical science, and the importance of experiencing the outdoors. Children go outdoors almost every day, where they learn about nature, shapes, patterns, and colors in the natural world around them. They also spend a portion of the day indoors where they play, hear stories, learn their letters, participate in age appropriate experiments and do art projects.  Two, three and five day morning programs are offered for children ages 3 to 5 who will be 3 years old by December 31st of the year of enrollment.

Mission

The mission of Natural Start Preschool is to provide a high-quality early childhood learning program that meets the developmental needs of preschoolers while at the same time inspiring them to love and appreciate the world of nature. Our unique nature-based curriculum combines traditional Kindergarten readiness learning with age-appropriate educational activities that are designed to teach children about the natural world, exercise and physical fitness, health and wellness, nutrition, and the importance of getting outdoors.

Philosophy

At Natural Start Preschool, we believe that nature plays a vital role in the physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development of young children. Research shows that children who spend time in nature are healthier, can think more clearly, have an easier time paying attention, and have the ability to cope more effectively with stress. Childhood experiences in nature help stimulate children’s curiosity and interest in the world around them, and help them grow intellectually in their desire to better understand the world and their place in it.    


We believe that children’s interactions with the natural world allow for the development of a lifetime of skills. Nature serves as a living classroom for our preschool and provides an ideal environment for children to learn through direct experience and play. Our preschoolers spend time outdoors almost every day, where they can fully engage all their senses in a safe and nurturing environment. On the rare occasions when the weather is too extreme for outdoor exploration, children are able to participate in active play in the gymnasium.    


We also believe that children need time to be themselves: children. They need ample opportunities to play, to practice and work out social skills with other children in a safe environment, and to gain self-confidence and self-esteem. We believe that helping children develop a positive self-image and become socially competent is the best foundation for their future. The experience of these early preschool years will last a lifetime.

"Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives."  

-Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth