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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

Nature School & Nature Recess

Nature School and Nature Recess are programs for children age 5-10! Do you have a 5 or 6 year old? They can also attend our preschool programs - Lil' Nature Kids

Please read the WITHDRAWAL POLICY.
Skip to NATURE RECESS

Nature School! (age 5-8)

A class perfect for half-day kindergarten students, homeschool students or the child who simply loves to learn about nature in-depth. Students learn about Pacific Northwest ecology using art, science, literature, exploration, games, and play. Curriculum is a balance of child-directed and teacher-directed inquiry. Although the program is a drop-off program, we invite parents to volunteer once or twice a season. Ratio of students to teachers is 6:1 or better. Classes meet for three hours once a week on Monday afternoon at Mt Tabor Park or Tuesdays mid-day at Hoyt Arboretum. Classes at Hoyt Arboretum include time to eat sack lunch! Fall, winter, and spring sessions are offered.

"What will my child learn?" Nature School is created with a framework that balances planned instruction as well as child-driven activities. Children are taught about the flora and fauna of Portland, birds, invertebrates, ecological concepts, and more! Plus we make time to explore, play, and investigate based on the curiosity of the group. Check out the schedule of classes here!

All signed up? Here's what you need to know!

WHAT TO BRING
Our programs are very active, and we are outside rain or shine. The children who have the most successful experiences are those who arrive with appropriate clothing, footwear, and food. (If you are worried about your child needing a change of clothes, send along some extra clothes in a large Ziploc bag!) Children should come to each day of the program with the following:

  • Warm clothes, rain gear & rain boots as needed! (Remember that many of our parks are at elevation and along rivers and can feel colder than right outside your house!)
  • We require hat & mittens each day of class during the school year!
  • A substantial lunch to have along the trail (or a snack if you just ate lunch!)
  • Water bottle (holds at least 8 oz of water)
  • Comfortable backpack that’s an appropriate size/weight for your child to hold the snack and water bottle - we like kids to have free hands for exploring! 

Nature Recess! (age 6-10)

Relive the exploration, games & play of Summer Nature Day Camp the whole year through!. This after-school program for children ages 6-10 includes nature crafts, collections, stealth games, imaginary play, and more! Learning is done through exploration, this class is a way for older students to continue to connect to nature. Ratio of students to teacher is 6:1 or better. Classes meet on after school Wednesday at Sellwood Riverfront Park, and Thursdays at Mt Tabor Park. Fall and spring sessions are offered. Check out the schedule of classes here!

All signed up? Here's what you need to know!

WHAT TO BRING
Our programs are very active, and we are outside rain or shine. The children who have the most successful experiences are those who arrive with appropriate clothing, footwear, and food. (If you are worried about your child needing a change of clothes, send along some extra clothes in a large Ziploc bag!) Children should come to each day of the program with the following:

  • Warm clothes, rain gear & rain boots as needed! (Remember that many of our parks are at elevation and along rivers and can feel colder than right outside your house!)
  • We require hat & mittens each day of class during the school year!
  • A substantial lunch to have along the trail (or a snack if you just ate lunch!)
  • Water bottle (holds at least 8 oz of water)
  • Comfortable backpack that’s an appropriate size/weight for your child to hold the snack and water bottle - we like kids to have free hands for exploring!

WITHDRAWAL POLICY
If it’s more than 5 business days from the start date, you can withdraw for a $10 administrative fee or switch classes without charge. Unfortunately, however, once we are within 5 business days of the start date of a class, we can no longer offer any refunds. By that time, our preschool naturalists have committed to teaching and we have scheduled the appropriate amount. If you have questions about the withdrawal policy, please give Chrissy Larson a call at 503-823-1149.