Our son was at the point where he dreaded going to his old 'big factory' preschool. Within a week of transferring to Nature School of Austin, he was excited about going to school again! He is now thriving in an engaging environment where the kids are encouraged to explore and receive lots of quality attention.
- M. R.
My three year old daughter began attending ** ** ** at the age of one, by age three she grew out of it and began telling me she didn't like her school and wanted to leave. While it was nice to have my daughter come home spotless from ** ** ** and monitored by a security camera, both of these things also caused serious red flags to go up... What was my kid doing all day?! She never had new projects or artwork to show for, and the teachers didn't seem to care about TEACHING. I finally reached my breaking point when my daughter was having a difficult drop off and I witnessed a teacher on the security television in the lobby reprimanding her rather than consoling her. I walked back into the classroom picked her up and never looked back.
Since arriving at the Nature School of Austin my daughter has had the opportunity to play and explore the outdoors, she's learned how to write her name, her fathers name, my name, numbers, she's completing incredibly difficult puzzles, learning new songs, and languages. MOST importantly my daughter is excited each morning to get ready and go to school, which is something she never did while attending ** ** ** . Everyday that I dropped her off at ** ** ** she was hysterical and the teachers calmed my nerves by saying it was "just a phase" and she would "grow out of it" and "as soon as you walk out she calms down and is happy." However, I knew that after dropping her off all she wanted was for me to pick her up and leave, putting me on edge and worrying.
During drop off at the Nature School of Austin my daughter gives me a kiss and a hug, tells me she loves me and has NEVER cried when I walk out, in fact she wants to stay longer when I go to pick her up!! Everyday at pickup she's eager to show me what she's learned, explored, and completed. I have never been happier about my decision to switch to the Nature School of Austin, my daughter is happy, intellectually flourishing, Ms. J and Ms. A are amazing, and I'm at ease and confident that she's enjoying herself and learning when I'm gone during the day.
- G. B.
We are so happy we've chosen for our daughter to attend The Nature School. The two years prior to this, our daughter attended one of the large, chain day-cares, but I was always searching for something different. I was sick of the staff turnover, lack of learning and lack of consistency. The teachers at The Nature School, Ms A. and Ms J., are wonderful and offer consistent learning and nurturing for our child. The way the day is structured really nourishes a perfect learning environment. I'm amazed daily by the things my daughter tells me she learned at school...everything from how to hold a pencil properly, to putting items away, to phonetics. Both teachers are always able to spend time with me, letting me know what all they did that day. My daughter constantly talks about her new school and absolutely loves everything about it. Best decision we've made!
- K. M.
Ms. A. has extensive educational experience, and a true passion for educating young children, which she brings every day to the classroom. She has gotten to know our daughter well in a short period of time, respecting her individuality and fostering her strengths. We also enjoy getting a treasure trove of beautiful art projects at the end of each day!
- N. J.
Our 2.5 year old daughter really loves the school and especially her teachers - she says so every day. As a parent I appreciate many things about the school. I feel it is a very safe environment, the doors are heavy and kept locked to outsiders. Once inside, the actual space is split into an indoor section and an outdoor section. Indoors the space is open with lots of toys and areas for the kids to engage. The space is kept very clean and the toys are mostly wooden and educational in nature. The staff are all well-educated, patient, and they really care about my daughter. At the end of the school day the teachers interact with the parents. The teachers do not treat their work as a job, rather they treat it as a vocation - they all seem passionate about working with children. I would recommend the school to parents that both care about their children's education and are looking for the perfect place to set a foundation for having fun, learning, and for social interaction with other children and the teachers. I am grateful for Ms A's vision - it makes me feel lighter every day that I am working and not able to be with my daughter.
- H. G. and P. G.
Our Nature School of Austin experience has been above and beyond what we could ask for as parents. Our Daughter can't wait to go to school to participate in outdoor activities, learning about nature, indoor arts and crafts, science, music, reading etc. The daily curriculum driven activities encourage growth in the areas of coordination, working with one another, promoting self esteem and increase sense of wonder and curiosity. Ms. A is extremely knowledgeable, hardworking and affectionate and the children just love her!
- C. C-T.
My daughter who's going to turn 3 very soon, loves nature school of Austin (wants to go there on weekends too!).
She's been going there since last couple of months and her experience there has been outstanding. We could not have hoped for a more smoother transition for her, given that it was the first time that she was staying outside her home for extended periods of time each day. All the teachers are very supportive and caring and ensured that every child is given sufficient personal attention. Within a couple of weeks she was able to transition from half days to full days, which speaks volumes about the quality of care provided at this facility.
She has picked up lots of English in the short span of time since she began going to Nature School of Austin, she could only speak few words, and now is able to speak sentences in English. All the teachers are really involved with the children and the low student teacher ratio is a huge plus point in this school. Not only has my daughter picked up English, she has also gained a lot of general knowledge, practical training and music as well.
Overall it has been a very positive experience for us and would highly recommend this school for pre-schoolers.
I've waited awhile to write this review as I wanted to make sure that my first impression would be a lasting impression. It's pretty lengthy, but if you're anything like me, you want to know as much about a school as possible before enrolling your child.
My husband and I began looking for another preschool for our son after we determined that his previous school was not a good fit for the way that he learned. During our search, we stumbled upon the Nature School of Austin, which had opened just a few weeks prior. From the time we walked into the school, we knew that this would be a much better learning environment for our son. The classroom is very open allowing a large amount of natural light. All of the materials for the students are at their level and appeal to a wide range of interests and skills, many of which are naturally made. The classroom is intentionally set up to discourage gender discrimination. The class contains pet parakeets, who provide pleasant chirping throughout the day making you feel as if you were outside. The vibe of the classroom is one of calmness.
The outside area is what immediately drew our son's attention. There is a lot of space to run around, a large sandbox, art easels, picnic tables, balls, vehicles, plants, and a play house. The children are allowed to explore the outside environment by running, digging, yelling, painting, and generally, be kids! Going outside happens every day and my son normally comes home covered in dirt from the knees down. Perfect!
The classroom "curriculum" is what immediately drew the interest of my husband and I. I put the word "curriculum" in quotations, because it is NOT a textbook curriculum that they put every child through while ticking off checkboxes. The school's staff is trained and certified in Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia. In addition, the director has her Master's degree in education. As a result of their experience and knowledge, they work on numerous skills with the children using the child's interest while also exposing them to other topics regularly. Our son has been learning to do all of the typical preschool knowledge (reading, writing, counting, etc). However, he has also been learning yoga, music, chess, and sports. As it is a multi-age classroom, the staff are also skilled in adapting activities to fit a wide range of skill level. At our son's request, the teachers and director have also provided us with extension activities for our him to do at home to expand upon what he has learned in the classroom. You know it's a great school when your child is asking for more work!
Another key piece for us was communication. At his previous school, we rarely saw the teachers who were with him during the day and they refused to communicate via email or phone. This school is the complete opposite. I see our son's teachers every day and they always take a moment to share something with me about his day. Emails are responded to quickly. The staff are also exceptional at communicating with the students as well. Their instructions are clear and their rules have reasons behind them. They let the students know the reasoning for the rules rather than stating "because I said so!" This encourages a classroom environment of cooperation rather than authoritative.
Overall, this school is everything we had hoped it would be and more. Our son has been attending for several months and we couldn't be happier. Our son wakes up every day asking if it's a school day and is so excited when we tell him "yes". Getting him out of the house in the morning used to be a struggle at his old school and now he's the one trying to get us to go. He loves sharing what has happened about his day with us, including what he has learned and how much he loves his friends and teachers. The difference between his last school and this school is astronomical. Ms. A, Ms. J, and Ms. O are so kind, patient, encouraging, and loving. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for letting our son see that learning can be fun! Since attending the Nature School of Austin, our son has become such as happy and excited kiddo. I am so incredibly grateful that we found this school!
P: Can you tell me what some of your favorite things are about your school? C: Because the teachers are a scientist and I'm also a scientist! P: What do you love about Ms. J? C: That she's smart and she wants to know why I didn't bring any books today. P: Ah, so she encourages you to bring books? C: Ah, yeah. She wonders what new books I have. She likes for me to read. P: What's your favorite thing about Ms. A? C: Cause she reminded me to do some work and I already wanted to do a work. That was cars. P: What's your favorite thing about Ms. O? C: She draws me pictures and I learn about animals. P: What do you like to do outside? C: That's fun! I play superhero with ****. P: What's your favorite activity inside right now? C: Uh, choosing works. P: Do you have any favorites? C: I like all of them! P: Are you excited you're learning to read? C: *giggles* Yes, silly! P: What is your favorite thing to do with your friends in the class? C: Inside or outside? P: How about both? C: Well, inside we just do work. P: And you like doing work with your friends? C: I show them lessons. And outside we just play together and I made a new friend today! P: You did? C: Yes. P: What's your friend's name? C: ***** , silly. She's my new friend I love. P: What do you think about the yoga you do? C: I like it. P: What do you like about it? C: Too many things! P: You've been learning a lot of new songs in class. C: Yeah. P: Do you have a favorite song right now? C: *sings* Invertebrates! Invertebrates! They don't have bones! P: Do you like this school more or your last school more? C: This school. P: Why? C: Because there's nicer teachers and more friends. P: Do your teachers ever tell you you can't do something? C: No...No they don't. P: They don't? C: No. P: And you still want to do the work? C: I do! *giggles* P: Is there anything else you want to tell me about your school? C: No. P: Is it a fun place to spend your day? C: Yeah!
- C.D. (age 4) and B. D.
Before finding the Nature School of Austin, we had tried sending our daughter to a day care center. The environment seemed noisy and chaotic. We were frequently being called to pick her up as she had become too distraught to stay. No matter what we or the care givers tried, our daughter never felt comfortable at the day care or overcame her separation anxiety.
Fortunately, we found the Nature School and it was immediately apparent how much more comfortable she was. Ms. A and her staff were patient and nurturing from day one. Our daughter has flourished in her time at Nature School and we could not be happier in the progress she has made socially and academically. She is always excited to talk about her day and what she has learned. The lessons cover a diversity of topics and there is a wonderful variety of activities offered throughout the day. We all love the fact that outdoor activities are a large part of her day as well.
I am so grateful to Ms. A for providing such a caring and warm environment. Enrolling our daughter at Nature School is one of the best decisions we have made. We have every intention of enrolling our youngest once she comes of age and have no doubt Ms. A and the Nature school will be just as big of a positive influence.
- A. P.