Guiding Principles

Our Mission

The mission of The Nest at Wheeler is to provide an early childhood education that meets the developmental needs of each child through joyful, hands-on, experiential learning in the natural world. Our nature-based curriculum integrates academics and social-emotional skills and inspires a love of learning and connection to the natural world.

Our Principles

At Wheeler, we encourage children to take an active role in their school experience and we strive to nurture each child’s intrinsic sense of creativity, curiosity, adventure, and wonder. Our teaching is grounded in learning that emerges from children’s interests and is based on their skills and needs. Through time spent outdoors immersed in nature, as well as through group and instructional time indoors, we provide effective and meaningful learning for children.

Play-Based Approach

Our play-based approach encourages children, in partnership with teachers, to make independent discoveries about themselves and the natural world. Play is an essential component to how children learn.

Developmentally Appropriate

We use developmentally appropriate practices to meet children where they are. We design learning experiences that match their interests and are challenging enough to promote their progress.

Social & Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning is part of our daily routine, giving children the foundation to understand emotions, make responsible decisions, and maintain positive peer relationships.


Nature is a central component of the indoor and outdoor learning experience and a framework for integrating math, science, language and literacy, and social studies.

Creative Thinking

Children develop creative thinking skills as they explore, inquire, investigate, and experiment independently and collaboratively to build their knowledge of the world around them.

Physical Skills

Children take part in daily activities that build physical skills and endurance. Playing in the natural environment is the ideal setting for students to build a strong mind and body connection.