After months of listening to the community, Boise has officially opened its first outdoor preschool. The program takes place at the Foothills Learning Center and is operated through Boise Parks and Recreation. September 4 marked the beginning of the school’s first week, and there are currently six kids in the class. Parents are passionate about having an outdoor option for their children, and this is the first step in the direction of a greater awareness of Idaho outdoor adventure education.
The enrolled kids spend much of their time walking nearby trails and participating in nature-based craft projects. As with a standard preschool, the children are ages three and four, and the curriculum centers on expanding their knowledge of the five senses and their surroundings—primarily touch, taste, smell, and hearing. The children have experienced a variety of sensory activities in this new school, and it appears to be going well.
When the kids are not out on the trails, you can find them playing with sticks and other natural artifacts, making tracks in the sand, and climbing on nearby rocks and trees—all under qualified adult supervision, that is. The school is designed to allow the kids to self-explore and create a personal place for themselves. Kids are encouraged to take charge of their own existence and experience—whether that means applying sunscreen or choosing to wear a coat if the temperature is on the colder side.
Boise itself is a city that understand its natural assets, and area parents want their children to experience all the area has to offer. In fostering a sense of respect for nature and the environment in childhood, these parents hope to instill in their children a sense of curiosity and self-reliance. The Boise Outdoor Preschool currently has room for eight kids, but the facilitators have plans to expand if there is a demand. School runs Tuesday through Thursday from 9AM to 12PM.