Sprouts & Seedlings at the SummerFare Expo

“The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil.”

—Rachel Carson


There is a blizzard outside and the kids are home from school, so I bet some of you are thinking about February and even Summer break already.  What’s the best way to get them outside?  Send them to Sprouts & Seedlings at the GEC!  Last day to enroll for February break is this Wednesday, where you can find materials at the GHS SummerFare Expo.

I hope to see your 3-8 year old Sprouts & Seedlings during the next school vacation, at The Garden Education Center.  New dates have just been announced, as well as five great reasons you can feel confident signing up.

Here’s what your Sprouts will be up to:


About Sprouts & Seedlings at the Garden Education Center

We offer a hands-on curriculum rooted in science, art, literature, math and dramatic play to encourage the development of the whole child: mentally, emotionally and physically.  The GEC and the grounds of the Montgomery Pinetum serve as a safe venue for parents to allow their children to explore nature.  Plant the seeds of life-long learning, healthy living, and good stewardship!


Our Rhythms

Whether our daily hikes take us to the pond, garden, or forest trail, our focus is on full sensory experiences that respect each individual’s natural pace, and honor best practices in developmentally appropriate early-childhood education.  Our teacher/child ratio is 1:6.

9:00-9:30 sign in and collect observations in our morning activity

9:30-10:30  thematic story, songs, and greetings, outdoor hike and search

10:30 picnic snack

10:45-11:30 guided play at nature stations and free exploration

11:30-12:00 cleanup and share

12:00 DismissalIMG_0168

Our Nature-Based Emergent Curriculum

Nature initiates the themes, and we see where our imaginations take us!  Our explorations develop scientific observation skills, problem solving, logic and reasoning, and positive outdoor memories.  We build our social skills in guided searches and during valuable imaginative play at nature stations:


Valuable imaginative play at nature stations:

dramatic play:  Are those mossy patches homes for fairies and gnomes?   Is that wooden bench a farmers market, kitchen, or greenhouse?  Nature brings the props, everyone brings their ideas!

arts and crafts:  There’s always a way to get crafty with natural materials!  We use our hands to build on thematic stories.

building area:  Soil, sun, winds, water, and woods all inspire engineering with sticks, blocks, and other manipulatives.

writing and science journals:  Literacy is scattered throughout our day, from our stories and table time activities to our trail and pack labels.

We support an ever-growing vocabulary, and curious minds love to read, naturally!IMG_0231

Are You Geared Up for Nature Connection?

We’ll help you and your young explorers build up resources to connect with the natural world.  We gain practice equipping ourselves for outdoor activities, rain or shine.  Learn which clothes to wear, and gear to bring, and find the community resources you need for further family nature connection and a maximum amount of fresh air.  In case of extreme weather, we bring nature stations into our bright classroom.

Our next Nature Play weeks will be:


Nature Stories: Winter Adventure Play in the Pinetum!

9:15 a.m. – Noon
Ages 3 – 8

February 9 – 13
Pre-Register by January 28

 June 22-26, June 29-July 3



I am so excited to be a part of Sprouts & Seedlings!  Sprouts was developed as an educational program for 3-8 year olds by volunteers at the Garden Education Center of Greenwich, and run for several years by inspiring leaders in our community.  The GEC is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to promoting horticulture, conservation and the arts through educational programs, outreach activities and special events.

As the new Director of Youth Programs, the curriculum and format has been updated with support from peers and instructors as part of my studies in the Nature-Based Early Childhood Education Program at Antioch University New England.

For more information, or to schedule a tour, contact me at youth.director @ gecgreenwich.org or call 203.869.9242

Director of Youth Programs, Deanna Novak at Garden Education Center in Cos Cob. Credit: Leslie Yager: Greenwich Free Press

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