Elements “Forest” Preschool Set to Open this Summer in the Lower East Side

Image courtesy of elementspreschool.com

Image courtesy of elementspreschool.com

I’m very excited about Elements Preschool being set to open this summer at 99 Suffolk Street in the Lower East Side. Elements will feature a landscaped outdoor area which will allow for a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor learning activities. Founded by Shilpa Sethi, the school will follow the New York Common Core curriculum, integrated with nature-based activities inspired by the forest school model, which teaches children through hands-on activities in the outdoors. Forest schools encourage kids to stay active by running, playing, climbing, and exploring the surrounding environment. While forest schools are increasingly popular in Europe, there are only a handful in the United States to date. However, a 2014 study from University of Colorado Boulder shows that children who have access to school yards with natural terrain and trees, dirt, and water features have longer attention spans and lower stress levels.

Here is a video introduction to the Forest school model:

The Elements Preschool campus, designed by Central Landscape Architecture, will include a garden for growing fruits and vegetables, dirt hills, a woodland walk, and an outdoor observation center. Elements Preschool will open its doors for a summer camp session in July 2015 and is currently enrolling children ages 2-5 for the school year starting in 2015. Elements will also feature an after-school program for children 3-6 years old.

Artist rendering of Elements Preschool campus - Courtesy of inhabitots.com

Artist rendering of Elements Preschool campus – Courtesy of inhabitots.com

If you’re interested in enrolling your child in a 2s, 3s, or 4s class, fill out the application and contact the admissions office at info@elementspreschool.com or 212-982-4444. Admissions are on a first-come, first-served basis. Children should be at least 2 years old and completely potty trained on the first day of school. School tours start this month, and you can see a list of daily activities on the Elements Preschool website.

Outside of Elements, nature and green space can be hard to come by in New York, so I’ve compiled a list of the greenest playgrounds in New York City.  View the list here.

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