The Darien Nature Center is already planning out its fall programs for children and has opened up registration. The programs range from mom-and-me activities, to weekday enrichment and after-school nature adventure classes.
All pre-school programs begin the week of Sept. 10. Parents may sign their children up for the fall only or receive a discount when registering a child for fall and winter/spring.
New this year is Plug into Nature for children 3-5, offered Monday-Friday. A two-hour drop off program children may be signed up for two or three days per week. With the inordinate amount of time children spend in front of computers and televisions, nature is the natural antidote to their technology-filled world. Naturalist Nina Miller will show them how to slow down and unwind. The big outdoors will be their classroom, imagination, wind and sun their guide.
Nature’s Playroom is a nature discovery program for 3-4 year olds. The morning drop-off program and afternoon sessions are Monday-Friday. A lunch bunch is also offered. Designed to complement a child’s nursery school experience, children may be registered for one day per week only.
Another program for 3-4 year olds is Critters and Kids. Children will get to know all of the Nature Center animals and explore the big outdoors to discover who lives there. Children may be signed up one day a week for Critters and Kids, which is offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9:30-11:45.
A nature program for mom and 2 year olds is Knee-High to Nature. It is offered Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9:45-10:45. Moms and tots will explore the trails, learn about the animals and enjoy doing art projects together. An instant play group, children learn socialization skills while exploring the wonders of nature
Another program for 2-year olds is the Nature Center’s drop-off program, Nature Time for Two’s, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Moms may drop off their children from 9:30-11:30 in a class of up to eight children with two adult teachers. Activities include learning nursery rhymes, meeting the animals, simple crafts and trail walks.
An alternative program for 2 year olds is Animal ABCs…123s.With a focus on the alphabet and numbers, children will learn their numbers and ABCs while being introduced to animals. This class meets on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Children may be signed up for one day of Nature Time for Two’s and/or one day of Animal ABC’s.
For older kids
For older students, the Nature Center offers an array of after-school programs which begin the week of Sept., 17.
The popular program Animal Caretakers Club is designed for children in first through sixth grades, and offered Monday-Friday from 3:45-4:45. Exercising the animals, cleaning their habitats and learning their ways are among the duties of the members of the Animal Caretakers Club. At the end of each session, the children choose their favorite animal and do a small presentation for their families.
Nature Detectives, for first through third grades, will discover nature’s mysteries out on the trails and pond. The program will be held on Mondays from 3:45-4:45.
Trail Trekkers is an outdoor exploration program for children in kindergarten and pre-kindergarten. The changing seasons in Cherry Lawn Park will provide the setting for their adventures. This program will be held Fridays from 3:45-4:45.
For the child who loves animals and might be struggling with reading, Nina Miller is offering a free “read to the animals” program after-school. In a risk-free, non judgmental environment, a child can read their chosen story to a bunny, dog or turtle. Contact the Nature Center to arrange days and times with Nina Miller.
More info/registration: 203-655-7459, dariennaturecenter.org