FAQs for The Nest at Wheeler

Nature-based preschool offers children opportunities to learn through active, hands-on experiences. Research shows that child-led learning in nature stimulates the growth of the “whole” child, developing their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional skills while achieving the same developmental learning goals of a traditional preschool setting. 

Yes. Our early childhood experience integrates social and emotional learning, physical development, and the acquisition of academic skills, including language and literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies. In addition to that, our nature-based approach fosters critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. All of these components together prepare children to succeed in Kindergarten and beyond. 

  • THRIVING THROUGH NATURE describes why executive function skills are key to success in school and life and how learning in nature supports the development of these essential skills.

Yes. The Nest at Wheeler integrates language, literacy, math, science, social studies, and social-emotional learning into each school day. We combine hands-on experiential learning outdoors with indoor lessons and projects to support your child’s growth and development, preparing them for Kindergarten.

The curriculum is emergent which means that it’s based on the children’s interests. Teachers plan lessons inspired by the children’s active, hands-on experiences, taking into consideration their skills, and developmental learning goals.

Our experienced teachers use a combination of observation and documentation and knowledge of child development to chart student progress and celebrate their work. We assess areas of strength on an ongoing basis, setting goals for students as they move through the school year. We value open communication with families and share information about student learning and progress through weekly emails and newsletters, photo sharing, and scheduled parent-teacher conferences.

Children will be outdoors, engaged in inquiry-based learning and play for at least 30% of the school day.

Children range in age from 2.9-5 years old and are placed into classrooms by age. Children in our Nursery class range in age from 2.9-4 and our Pre-Kindergarten students are 4-5 years old. Depending on each year’s enrollment, there may be two classrooms for our youngest learners.

Our youngest learners in the Nursery class range in age from 2.9-4 and our Pre-Kindergarten students are 4-5 years old. Our Nursery families can choose from 3-5 day options (half and full) and our Pre-Kindergarten families can choose from half or full 5 day option.

We strive for a low student-teacher ratio of 7:1. We will not exceed 9:1.

Our faculty are experienced early childhood teachers. Visit our Meet the Teacher page.

Yes, children need to be potty trained in order to attend.

It’s important children come to school dressed for the range of New England weather so they can fully engage, explore, and get the most out of their school experience. Clothing needs will vary according to the season and weather and teachers will provide a list of essential gear.

Young children love the rainy and snowy days just as much as the sunny days as long as they are dressed appropriately. At The Nest, we will engage in outdoor learning when it is raining and snowing. On the occasions that the weather is too windy or extreme, we will head indoors to learn.

Yes, there are health services on site.

Yes, all Nest staff have up-to-date First Aid and CPR training and certification.

  • We have a low student/teacher ratio.
  • We establish routines, clear expectations, and physical boundaries.
  • Children are always in sight of their teachers at all times throughout the day.
  • We practice routine fire drills several times a year.
  • We allow pick-up by designated persons only.

The program provides one morning, nut-free snack. We offer a nut-free afternoon snack for students enrolled in the full day program and stay at school later than 3pm. Children will need a reusable water bottle each day and if the child stays at school in the afternoon, parents need to provide lunch.

Our youngest learners grow and learn at their own pace. Teachers will provide guidance about which program is suitable for your child. 

Families interested in Wheeler’s Kindergarten program will follow a different enrollment process. Application for admission is coordinated through Wheeler’s Enrollment Office, https://www.wheelerschool.org/enrollment/.

Drop off is between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Depending on a family’s chosen schedule, half-day pick up will take place at 12:30, with additional pick up times throughout the afternoon for full day families.

At the Nest, we encourage children who speak more than one language to attend, and it is preferred that they transition into the program with a basic understanding of English.

Still Have Questions?