Nature SchoolEXPLORE. LEARN. CREATE. GROW!

Nature School at Camp Albemarle is a faith based program with the goal of teaching children about God through the wonder of His Creation, establishing a connection to nature and getting children active outdoors. 

 

Program & Registration Information

2 day and 3 day morning preschool sessions, Kindergarten (2019-2020), Sprouts Class and STEM Club (for homeschool famlies) are offered. All programs are held outside, rain or shine. E-mail the Nature School Director for a registration form and to schedule a tour of our school.

Announcements

The TTH Preschool Class and STEM CLUB are FULL for the 2018-2019 School Year. E-mail the Nature School Director to be added to the wait list. Spots are filling up fast in our MWF & Sprouts Classes! Register today to reserve your child’s spot.

Visit our Facebook page Nature School at Camp Albemarle or e-mail Heather, Nature School Director, for the most up-to-date information.

Our outdoor preschool launched in September 2016! Our program is unique in that we use the natural world to promote learning and growth in your child. Students spend the entire class outside on 29 acres of land to learn about God through His creation and to create a lifelong connection with nature. In April 2018 we changed our name from The Preschool at Camp Albemarle to Nature School at Camp Albemarle to reflect our new programs.

 

Program Philosophy
  • Sharing God’s love through His creation.
  • Connecting students to nature to inspire appreciation for the natural world.
  • Providing a safe environment to encourage exploration and learning.
  • Promoting wellness through active play.
  • Assisting students in their interactions with each other to promote cooperative learning and encourage problem solving.
  • Developing activities that are focused on the individuality, abilities and interests of each student.

 

Facility

Camp Albemarle is located on 29 acres of open grass and wooded areas and is bordered by Bogue Sound. Nature School has an outdoor classroom as our base camp and students explore and learn on all 29 acres of land.

Nature School Staff

Heather Estep | Nature School Director

Heather serves Camp Albemarle as Nature School Director. Heather’s love for the ocean and passion for children brought her to North Carolina in 2012. After graduating from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina with her Bachelor’s in Marine Science and a double minor in biology and psychology, she worked as a Special Activities Instructor at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Heather is blessed to combine her love for children, our planet, and God into one amazing job and is excited to get children active outdoors and surrounded by nature. She enjoys volunteering, serving as a kids ministry teacher at her church and crafting.

 

Salla WagnerSalla Wagner | Nature School Teacher

Salla comes to us by way of the Marine Corps, although collectively she has lived in North Carolina for nearly 12 years. Previously, Salla worked at an all girls elementary school, and acted as a nursery care coordinator and provider. She is a graduate of Liberty University, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education. Most recently, Salla earned a certificate as a Nature Based Teacher. She loves to volunteer in her daughters’ schools, travel with her family both near and far, and you will almost always find her with a cup of coffee.

 

Cathy Sassner | Nature School Teacher

Catherine (Cathy) was born and raised in New Jersey and later Florida with her family.  After finishing high school, Cathy attended the University of West Florida where she graduated with a degree in Elementary Education.  She has taught Kindergarten and First Grade in South Carolina.  She has also worked with and cared for infants through elementary aged children.  Since college, she has moved around mostly on the east coast with her husband, whom is active duty military.  They have one child together.  Cathy enjoys spending time with her family and friends, helping out in her community and exploring the world around her.  She is blessed to be working with preschool children.

 

Katie Grasso | Nature School Teacher

Katie was born and raised in upstate NY and grew up visiting her grandparents in Eastern NC. She graduated from The State University of NY at Albany with a degree in English and has worked with children of all ages from the time she was a teen. Katie’s passion for the outdoors and nature education began after the birth of her daughter, six years ago. While in NY, Katie began hiking with her daughter who climbed her first mountain at the age of two. Katie enjoys exploring the outdoors, camping, reading, good coffee and traveling. She was thrilled to find The Nature School at Camp Albemarle for her daughter after moving to the area and is excited to be joining their staff.

2018-2019 Session Offerings

The TTH Preschool Classes and STEM Club are FULL for the 2018-2019 School Year. E-mail the Nature School Director to be added to the wait list.

Preschool Class | 3 & 4 year old

  • 2-day session: Tuesday and Thursday | 9am to 12pm | $160 per month
  • 3-day session: Monday, Wednesday and Friday | 9am to 12pm | $230 per month

*Must be 3 on or before August 31, 2018 and have independent bathroom skills*

Our preschool program uses an emergent curriculum to allow flexibility in activities focused on the children’s natural interests, curiosities and passions. Play is a crucial part of our program as it is a learning process that provides opportunities for cognitive, physical, social and emotional skills. It guides children on problem solving and assists with language development. Letters, shapes, numbers and colors will be incorporated into our program but is not an aspect that is heavily focused on as in traditional preschools.

A $100 non-refundable registration and supply fee is required at the time of enrollment ($25 for registration and t-shirt and $75 for classroom supplies).

 

Kindergarten Class | 5 & 6-year-old (not running for the 2018-2019 school year)

Monday – Friday | 8:15am to 12:15pm | $425 per month

*Must be 5 on or before August 31, 2018*

This class is geared towards students that will be entering the public-school system. While outdoor exploration and play is a top priority of the class, students will spend part of the day indoors completing lessons from a set curriculum. After completing this class, students should be on the same level as their counterparts who complete kindergarten in the public-school system.

A $225 non-refundable registration and supply fee is required at the time of enrollment ($25 for registration and t-shirt and $200 for curriculum and classroom supplies).

 

Sprouts Class | 5 & 6 year old

Tuesday and Thursday | 1pm to 4pm | $160 per month

*Must be 5 on or before August 31, 2018*

Sprouts class is geared towards homeschool families looking for a program to supplement learning at home. Critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork in an outdoor environment are the focuses of this class. Play, outdoor exploration, and nature and science concepts are implemented in the daily activities.

A $100 non-refundable registration and supply fee is required at the time of enrollment ($25 for registration and t-shirt and $75 for classroom supplies).

 

STEM Club | 7 to 14 year old (FULL)

Wednesday | 1pm to 4pm | $100 per month

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts will be integrated through the natural world to provide opportunities for students to explore problems, investigate and discuss possible solutions, and then research and implement their project plan. Project ideas will be presented to the students and they will have the chance to create their own ideas. There will be occasional guest speakers and field trips. Students may be split into two different age groups based on enrollment.

A $25 non-refundable registration fee is required at the time of enrollment. The supply fee is factored into monthly tuition.

 

Contact the Nature School Director for information on sibling discounts.

All classes run September 4, 2018 to May 24, 2019 and will follow the Carteret County Public School Calendar

 

Enrollment

E-mail the Nature School Director to enroll your child for the 2018-2019 school year. Enrollment information is being updated for the 2019-2020 school year.

Here at The Preschool at Camp Albemarle, our goal is to encourage children to explore the natural world and stay active outdoors, inspiring a love for learning through play based activities. Sharing God’s love for us and establishing a connection to nature is our primary goal. Academics are important and will be incorporated into our program, but will not be the primary focus in daily activities.

An emergent curriculum will be used to focus on the children’s natural curiosities, interests, and passions. Planned themes and activities will introduce the children to a variety of topics. However, these themes will not be scheduled far in advance so the teachers can incorporate them as they see it fits best in the children’s learning or when a child expresses interest in the topic.

Our teachers will be actively engaging in observing, planning, analyzing, documenting and evaluating the children’s activities, ideas, needs and interests. Interaction between the teachers and each child is essential and teaching moments will be acted upon daily. The pace and method at which one learns is different for every child and will be taken into consideration during planning.

We have created a guideline of goals for the year and most of these will come naturally in the activities incorporated into the centers, group activities or one-on-one time with the teachers. Please remember that our focus is more on play and the interests of the children than making sure every goal is met in the curriculum.

The class will be a mixture of 3 and 4 year olds and the goals may vary slightly for each child based on age.

Religion

  • Learn about God’s love for us
  • Listen to Bible stories
  • Retell main parts of Bible stories
  • Recognize that God created us, animals and plants
  • Recognize that God wants us to love and be kind to one another
  • Sing songs to praise God
  • Begin to develop values such as compassion, respect, honesty and fairness

 Science Development

  • Experience the world through nature walks, gardening, and environmental explorations
  • Observe and start to understand plant life cycle
  • Observe the weather and identify seasons
  • Understand and explore using the five senses
  • Investigate animals, where they live and what they eat
  • Identify plants and animals
  • Conduct and discuss simple experiments
  • Make predictions
  • Use simple science tools
  • Recognize and identify parts of the body
  • Identify basic colors
  • Learn basic skills to care for animals

Creative Arts

  • Demonstrate self-expression and creativity
  • Explore a variety of art processes
  • Use a variety of art materials
  • Participate in movement songs and dances
  • Use a variety of instruments
  • Explore rhythm
  • Participate in dramatic play
  • Act out movements and sounds of animals
  • Use props and puppets

Social and Emotional Development

  • Demonstrate taking turns and sharing
  • Participate and work well with others in group activities
  • Willing to try new experiences
  • Show curiosity for the world around them
  • Practice using manners
  • Communicate needs and express preferences
  • Ask for help
  • Follow directions
  • Build positive relationships with other children and adults
  • Recognize and accept differences in people
  • Participate in projects to help others in need
  • Practice solving problems
  • Recognize feelings of others
  • Care for and be kind to others
  • Identify and express feelings
  • Demonstrate a positive sense of self-identity

Health and Physical Development

  • Exhibit independence in self-care: clean up, dressing/undressing, hand washing
  • Make healthy eating choices
  • Practice good hygiene skills
  • Engage in active physical play
  • Development gross motor skills such as running, jumping, marching and skipping
  • Development fine motor skills such as using crayons, paintbrushes, manipulating large and small blocks, and using glue and scissors
  • Begin to develop eye-hand coordination
  • Develop awareness of safety issues

 Math Development

  • Recognize numbers 1-10
  • Count objects to 10
  • Sort by color, shape and size
  • Identify patterns
  • Recognize size difference: small, medium and large
  • Identify shapes: square, rectangle, circle, triangle and diamond
  • Match shapes, symbols and patterns
  • Understand opposites

Literacy

  • Exposure to alphabet
  • Exposure to name recognition
  • Listen to short stories and answer questions
  • Ask questions
  • Participate in simple songs and fingerplays
  • Build new vocabulary
  • Build listening skills
  • Follow verbal directions
  • Engage in simple conversations with peers and adults
Sample Daily Schedule

This schedule is for preschool classes. Sprouts Class and Kindergarten have similar schedules. 

“Teachable moments” are essential to learning and these moments can come at any time. Structure is also important for young children as they benefit from knowing what will happen next. We will maintain a loose schedule with predictable events throughout the day, such as group meeting and hike, to allow the teachable moments to be acted upon while still giving children the security of structure. The following is an example of a typical day schedule.

Arrival and Choice Time: Class will begin in our outdoor classroom and students will have 45 minutes of uninterrupted, unstructured play. Activities include but are not limited to blocks and building, construction play, art activities, sensory activities, science and discovery activities, reading and writing activities, dramatic play activities, math and manipulative activities, and music and movement activities.

Group Meeting: Students take part in conversations, engage in music and movement activities, listen to stories and discuss the day’s activities.

Snack: Teachers and students eat “family style” while telling stories and enjoying each other’s company.

Hike: Students take daily hikes to play and learn in different areas of Camp Albemarle.

Small Group: Students have the opportunity to go further in their learning through small group, adult directed activities.

Ending Group Meeting and Departure: Students assist with clean-up, reflect on the activities from the day, gather their belongings and say goodbye to their friends.  

Classes Occur Outside, Rain or Shine

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing” ~ Ranulph Fiennes

 

 

 

 

 

An indoor space is available for inclement weather including but not limited to:

  • Thunder and lightning
  • Active tornado watch or warning
  • High winds are present that could cause flying debris
  • Weather conditions could result in children becoming overheated or excessively chilled
  • Wind-chill factor and heat index will play a role in determining how long we stay outside
Thank You!

The growth of our program would not be possible without the support of our generous donors!

 

An anonymous donor

Archie Davis Construction

Barbara Johnson

Beaufort Wine and Food

Carteret Community Foundation

Cherry Point Officers’ Spouses’ Club

First Presbyterian Church of Kinston Handymen

J.O. and Ruth Barbour Memorial Fund for Wildlife Habitat Conservation

Josef-Ann Smith

Morris Plumbing

Tommy Simpson Construction

Walmart

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Contact Us about our Nature School Program

 

Verification

252.726.4848
office@campalbemarle.org
156 Albemarle Dr
Newport, NC 28570