Preschoolers on the bridge at Nature's Way Preschool

Welcome to Nature's Way Preschool!

Nature's Way Preschool logo

At Nature’s Way Preschool, we foster a caring and positive atmosphere in which children can learn.  As we bridge the gap from home to school, we offer opportunities for children to connect with nature while developing the needs of the whole child. Through exploration and hands-on activities that are both child-centered and teacher-directed, we introduce social, emotional and physical skills as well as language and math competencies. Theme- related activities emphasize the process rather than the product and foster a sense of accomplishment.   < LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PHILOSOPHY & HISTORY OF NATURE'S WAY

All sessions for the 2019-20 school year are at capacity.  If you would like to add your 3 year old student to a waiting list please sign up for the 2-day wait list below.  If you would like to add your 4 year old student to a waiting list please sign up for the 3-day wait list below.  If an opening becomes available, families will be contacted in order of the waiting list.

Enrollment Information & Class Schedule

Indoor classroom at Nature's Way PreschoolClass Schedule

3-4 year old (students must be 3 years old by September 1 to attend):

2 day morning* 8:30-11:30
2 day morning* 8:45-11:45 
2 day afternoon* 12:30-3:30 
2 day afternoon* 12:45-3:45
*All 2 day classes are $275/month and are held Tuesdays and Thursdays.

4-5 year old (pre-kindergarten):

3 day morning* 8:30-11:30
3 day morning* 8:45-11:45 
3 day afternoon* 12:30-3:30 
3 day afternoon* 12:45-3:45 
*All 3 day classes are $375/month and are held Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.


 Join the Nature’s Way Parent Green Team!

Join NWP staff and guest staff from the Kalamazoo Nature Center to learn more about how to green up your home and family life. 
Dates will be announced at the start of the school year.

Michigan Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Prekindergarten

Standards for Prekindergarten Standards information

The Importance of Risky Play

Sitting on the Tree

What is Risky Play?

Risky play is a situation or activity that is exciting, challenging, and includes a possibility of failure, such as falls, minor scrapes, or the inability to complete a desired task. 

ClimbingRisk vs. Hazard

  • Risk is present when a child is able to see an activity, assess the potential consequences, and make their own choice about whether or not they want to participate in the activity.
  • A hazard is when there is an unsafe situation that the child can’t see or assess, and therefore don’t have a choice about whether or not they want to participate. 
  • In our play, we will ensure that children have the choice of whether or not they want to engage in risky play, but they will not be exposed to hazards.

Examples of Risky Play

There are several categories of risky play defined in the research, including play from great heights and play with high speed.  Examples of risky play that we see at NWP include: climbing trees, playing with sticks, running games, sledding, or playing on a steep hill.

Benefits of Risky Play

Studies have shown that children who participate in risky play when they are young have better motor skills, social skills, conflict resolution skills, physical health, mental health, cognitive function, attention span, and risk assessment in their teens and young adulthood.

Additional Resources

· https://ellenbeatehansensandseter.com/: This is the blog of the leading risky play researcher.

· https://www.backwoodsmama.com/2018/02/stop-telling-kids-be-careful-and-what-to-say-instead.html: The document on the left came from this source. 

· http://childnature.ca/when-you-want-to-say-be-careful/

· https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/201404/risky-play-why-children-love-it-and-need-it: This article has great information about the research illustrating the benefits of risky play.

· https://www.theriskykids.com/2013/11/baby-steps-to-risky-play-for-parents-and-caregivers/: Nervous about risky play? This article has ideas for beginners. 


Brussoni, M., Gibbons, R., Gray, C., Ishikawa, T., Sandseter, E.B.H., Bienenstock, A., Chabot, G., Fuselli, P., Herrington, S., Janssen, I., Pickett, W., Power, M., Stanger, N., Sampson, M., & Tremblay, M. (2015). What is the relationship between risky outdoor play and health in children? A systematic review. International Journal Of Environmental Research And Public Health, Vol 12, Iss 6, Pp 6423-6454 (2015), (6), 6423. doi:10.3390/ijerph120606423

Clements, R. (2004). An investigation of the status of outdoor play. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 5(1), 68-80. doi: 10.2304/ciec.2004.5.1.10

Kemple, K., Oh, J., Kenney, E., & Smith-Bonahue, T. (2016). The power of outdoor play and play in natural environments. Childhood education. 92(6), 446-454. doi:10.1080/00094056.2016.1251793

McFarland, L. & Laird, S. (2017). Parents’ and early childhood educators’ attitudes and practices in relation to children’s outdoor risky play. Early Childhood Education Journal, 1-10. doi:10.1007/s10643-017-0856-8

Sandseter, E. B. H. (2007). Categorizing risky play—How can we identify risk-taking in children’s play? European Early Child Education Research Journal, 15(2), 237–252. doi: 10.1080/ 13502930701321733 .

Sandseter, E. (2009). Affordances for risky play in preschool: The importance of features in the play environment. Early Childhood Education Journal, 36(5), 439-446.


Visit Nature's Way Preschool

Please note:  Nature's Way Preschool is a private school and not open to the public. 

Contact the Preschool Director
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2-Day Wait List for 2019-20 school year
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3-Day Wait List for 2019-20 school year
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KNC Scholarship Qualification

To be considered for a scholarship through the Kalamazoo Nature Center, please provide a summary sheet from your 2018 tax return (upon completion).  Your tuition will be discounted if you meet the following guidelines; percentage discount will be determined when funds are allocated for the new year.  Please call Heather at (269) 343-7342 with questions.

Household Size Household Income At or Below
2 $39,825
3 $50,225
4 $60,625
5 $71,025
6 $81,425
7 $91,825
8 $102,225
Each additional family member, add: $10,400


A Visit to Nature's Way Preschool by Jim Triezenberg

Check out Jim Triezenberg's award-winning video about Nature's Way! This video won a bronze Telly Award, a big honor in the video industry.