Pickering Creek offers a special place for preschoolers. With short trails and a variety of habitats within the property – Pickering is a hideaway perfect for little legs and big imaginations.
Each Nature Preschool program is 2 hours in length and occurs at Pickering Creek Audubon Center. The programs are led by an experienced Teacher Naturalist and are modeled off our successful in-class lessons. Programs include story time, outdoor exploration, and crafts. Choose from season-specific lessons or lessons available yearlong.
Groups are invited to make a day of it! Bring snacks or lunch and ask the staff how to extend your visit with short hikes or outdoor exploration time.
Bring Nature to your school! If you can’t make it out to Pickering Creek, we can come to you. All Nature Preschool programs can be adjusted for the classroom. Classroom programs are 1 hour long and include a story time, craft, and close examination of natural materials brought from Pickering.
Contact us 410-822-4903 for details and pricing.
Monarchs are amazing! Over four generations, they will migrate 2,000 miles each year. Students will learn about a year in the life of Monarchs during story time with Monarch Butterfly of Aster Way. We will learn new vocabulary and about their life cycle through actions. Students will explore the native gardens and grasslands of Pickering Creek while trying to catch and release Monarchs and other butterflies. We will “band” each other like scientists do to Monarchs and map our own longest journey.
Have you ever stopped to look closely at a tree? Students will learn the life cycle of a tree and walk the forests of Pickering Creek looking for seeds, saplings, snags, logs, and mature trees. We will use our math skills to count the rings of some local tree cross-sections. After story time with Leaf Man, we will identify a few of our most common tree leaves and create our own Leaf Creatures, just like in the book!
Animals in Winter
What do animals do when the temperatures start to drop? Students will learn about the four common winter behaviors of animals: Migration, Hibernation, Gathering, and Staying Active. We will learn what our local animals do each winter and read Animals in the Winter. Students will make their own “Snow Track ID Booklet” and make a take-home suet treat for their neighborhood birds.
Owls are active winter animals – we can hear their calls even in town. Winter is also when our resident owls start their nests. Story time with Owls will introduce us to the variety found worldwide. We will then focus our attention on our four most common owls – learning how to identify them by sight and sound. We will use taxidermy owls to compare their shared characteristics and understand their unique hunting traits. Students will walk the trails at Pickering Creek looking for owl homes and collecting pinecones to make their own Snowy Owl.
Signs of Spring
Spring is a very active time outside. Animals are waking up, some are returning, others are born. We will talk about the changes happening below and above ground while reading Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. We will then explore our local “Signs of Spring” in the forest and pollinator garden by looking up in trees for birds and under logs for insects. Students will “dissect” a seed, looking for the baby plant, and go home with their own seed starter.
Spring and summer are a-buzz with pollinators! From small ants to fast bats – our Eastern Shore is home to a huge variety. We will read The Reason for a Flower and play active games to learn how pollination happens and which flower colors our pollinators prefer. Students will make their own seed ball to take home – containing flowering native plants to attract pollinators to their neighborhood.
You are never too young to be a scientist! We will read Me…Jane and learn how a famous scientist, Jane Goodall, started at a very young age. To be a scientist you must watch, ask questions, experiment, and make conclusions. We will practice the scientific method on Pickering program turtles and further practice our observation skills with a walk around Pickering Creek. Students will start an observation notebook to take home and use to practice their new scientific skills.
What is a habitat? What must a habitat have for animals to live there? Students will learn about the components of a healthy habitat and, the variety of habitats found worldwide while reading I See a Kookaburra!. We will walk along the creek and through the forest of Pickering Creek looking for water, shelter, food, and space and signs of the animals that call the habitat home. We will end with a Habitat Sort game to test our new knowledge!
Birds of a Feather
Birds are all similar but very, very different. We will read About Birds and study the similarities and differences between a songbird, duck, and owl. A birding hike will allow us to practice using binoculars and listening for different bird calls. After attempting to “eat” with different types of beaks in a “Fill the Bill” activity, we will make a bird feeder to take home to bring neighborhood birds right to our window!