Lower Elementary: Ages 5–8 or Grades K–3 (In-person)

We continue to find flexible and adaptive new ways to meet the needs of children and families during this pandemic. Our emphasis is on providing inquiry-based environmental and outdoor education programs for small groups, typically made up of no more than 10–12 individuals. Our programs, as always, are focused on learning from nature, but we are placing a heightened focus on meeting the need children have for unstructured time with their peers. It is essential to children’s social-emotional development and general sense of well-being to be able to play and be free outside with each other!

Programs may also be viewed in a calendar.

A note about registration: Many of our programs fill quickly, so we highly recommend registering on the waiting list. We go to this list first if a space opens up. And by adding your name, you can help us better plan for the programs that are in high demand.

Junior Nature Play Series

with Katie Koerten
Ages 5–7 or Grades K–1
Mondays, 10am–12:00pm
March 22 – June 7 (no program April 19 or May 31)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$400 | Tier B-$320 | Tier C-$240  | Tier D-$160
Limited to 8 participants

OR

Thursdays, 10:00am-12:00pm – Program full, wait list only
March 25 – June 10 (no program April 22)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$440 | Tier B-$352 | Tier C-$264  | Tier D-$176
Limited to 8 participants

Junior Nature Play continues into Spring 2021! Children in kindergarten and first grade may sign up for this immersive, lightly-structured program that lets kids be “free-range” while being safely supervised. Instructor Katie Koerten will lead us to our favorite places to play in the forest, such as Stump City, the Ferns, and the Faraway Woods. We’ll observe how nature changes as winter melts into spring and make exciting seasonal discoveries! Each day includes games, free play, a story and snack time. 

Junior Nature Play Afterschool

with Aemelia Thompson
Ages 5-7 or Grades K-1
Wednesdays, 3:30-5:30pm – Program full, wait list only
March 24- June 9 (no class April 21)
Extended days: March 24th, April 14, May 12th, June 2nd 1:30-5:30pm
Fee per Child: Tier A-$413 | Tier B-$330 | Tier C-$248 | Tier D-$165
Limited to 8 participants

Hitchcock’s Nature Play Afterschool Program is designed to let kids be kids. Together we will run, jump, climb, invent, imagine, play and be free-range kids all while developing self-confidence and learning valuable social skills. During Spring Nature Play we will explore wooded trails and fields, play in the mud, build forts, climb trees, and make new discoveries about ourselves and the world around us. Our instructors provide a safe setting for children to explore nature and encourage children to stretch their limits. This program is available to kindergarteners and first graders. 

Nature Play Afterschool Series

Ages 6-9 or Grades 1-3

with Aemelia Thompson
Mondays, 3:30-5:30pm – Program full, wait list only
March 22- June 7 (no class April 19 or May 31st)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$275 | Tier B-$220 | Tier C-$165  | Tier D-$110
Limited to 10 participants

OR

With Monya Relles
Tuesdays, 3:30-5:30pm – Program full, wait list only
March 23 – June 8 (no class April 20)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$303 | Tier B-$242 | Tier C-$182  | Tier D-$121
Limited to 10 participants

OR

with Jeff Mazur
Wednesdays, 3:30-5:30pm – Program full, wait list only
March 24 – June 9 (no class April 21) (11 weeks)
Extended days: March 24, April 14, May 12, June 2, 1:30-5:30pm
Fee per Child: Tier A-$413 | Tier B-$330 | Tier C-$248 | Tier D-$165
Limited to 12 participants

Hitchcock’s Nature Play Afterschool Program is designed to let kids be kids. Together we will run, jump, climb, invent, imagine, play and be free-range kids all while developing self-confidence and learning valuable social skills. During Spring Nature Play we will explore wooded trails and fields, play in the mud, build forts, climb trees, and make new discoveries about ourselves and the world around us. Our instructors provide a safe setting for children to explore nature and encourage children to stretch their limits.

Morning Nature Play Series

with Katie Koerten
Ages 6–8 or Grades 1–3
Tuesdays, 9:45am–12:45pm – Program full, wait list only
March 23 – June 8 (no program April 20)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$557 | Tier B-$446 | Tier C-$334  | Tier D-$223
Limited to 10 participants

Morning Nature Play continues into spring 2021! Every day is a mix of games, exploring and playing. We’ll romp and play in the fields and forests of the Hitchcock Center, noticing the beauty of the spring season and playing wild games. 

Junior Discovery Days Series

With Katie Koerten
Ages 5-7, Grades K-1
Wednesdays, 10:00am-12:00pm 
March 24 – June 2 (no program April 21)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$425 | Tier B-$340 | Tier C-$255  | Tier D-$170
Limited to 8 participants

Attention kindergartners and first graders! This spring our Junior Discovery Days are becoming a series! Each week we will notice what’s happening in nature and explore specific topics. Examples of weekly topics are: Awesome Amphibians, Dandelion Day, and Oh My Dragonfly. Our morning includes snack time, story, a nature project and a game.

Homeschool I: Storytelling in the Forest

Ages 6-8 or Grades 1-3
Limited to 10 participants.

with Monya Relles
Thursdays, 9:45–12:45pm – Program full, wait list only
March 4–May 13 (no program April 22)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$563 | Tier B-$450 | Tier C-$338  | Tier D-$225

Homeschool I is back for a session all about story. While immersed in nature, we’ll tell stories and listen to stories; we’ll write stories and act them out. We’ll play storytelling games, read stories from many cultures, and even think about the ways we can use stories to solve problems like climate change. Free play, sit spots, running games, and journaling are all built into each day. Each day will start with a question of the day and there will be optional projects to do at home.

Art in the Forest Series

with Aemelia Thompson
Ages 7–10 or Grades 2–4
Wednesdays, 10:00am–12:00pm
March 24 – June 9 (no class April 21)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$303  | Tier B-$242 | Tier C-$215  | Tier D-$121
Limited to 12 participants

The natural world has served as inspiration for artists of all varieties for all of humankind’s history. While surrounded by the undeniable beauty of the outdoors, children in the Art in the Forest program will be encouraged to develop awareness of the details in the natural world and learn how to utilize its beauty in artistic expression. Throughout the Spring we will welcome the world as it wakes up from Winter. We’ll paint budding flowers, make still life drawings, and sculpt with mud.  We’ll spend part of our time working together towards creating works of art and part free time in the woods, playing, talking and building community.

Girls into the Wild Series

with Katie Koerten
Ages 8–11 or Grades 3–5
Thursdays, 3:30-5:30pm
March 25 – June 10  (no program April 22)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$344 | Tier B-$275 | Tier C-$206  | Tier D-$138

with Monya Relles
Thursdays, 3:30pm-5:30pm
March 25 – June 10  (no program April 22)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$344 | Tier B-$275 | Tier C-$206  | Tier D-$138
Limited to 12 participants

Girls into the Wild continues in spring 2021 for more romping wildly through the field and forests of the Hitchcock Center. As always we’ll visit our favorite places to play in the forest, such as Stump City, the Ferns, and the Faraway Woods. Come build your confidence and show your wild side! 

April Vacation Days

Jumping Mice (Grades K-1) with Katie; Limit 10 – Age level full, wait list only
Brown Bats (Grades 2-3) with Monya; Limit 12 – Age level full, wait list only
Groundhogs (Grades 4-5) with Aemelia; Limit 12 
April 19-23, 10am-2pm

Fee per Child per day: Tier A-$55  | Tier B-$44 | Tier C-$33  | Tier D-$22
Fee per Child per Week: Tier A-$275  | Tier B-$220 | Tier C-$165  | Tier D-$110
*We strongly encourage signing the Jumping Mice age group up for all five days.  This will help group cohesion.*

Welcome Spring with our all-outdoor April Vacation Week. In order to maintain our policies of safety and care during this week, we will continue to offer outdoor only programs in lieu of our typical camp schedule.  This Spring the Hitchcock Center is involving a wider range of our valley in order to get kids outdoors and learning about the wonderful place we live. Each day we will offer a four hour program, running 10am-2pm, with a Hitchcock educator.

Our Jumping Mice group will explore different locations in the forest and fields near the Hitchcock Center.  Brown Bats and the Groundhogs will be at the Hitchcock Center and visiting some of our beloved nearby outdoor spaces. There will be two days where pick up and drop off will be somewhere other than the Hitchcock Center. Examples of places we might explore and play will be: the Horse Caves, Groff Park, The Hampshire College Woods, Amethyst Brook, and Buffam Falls.  Sign up for one day, two days, or them all!

Second Saturday Science Walks

Ages ages 5–7 and Grades  K–1
Limited to 12 participants.
Children must be accompanied by an adult. Limit of 3 children per adult.

with Aemelia Thompson
Second Saturdays, 10:00–10:45am
Spring: April 10, May 8, June 12
Suggested donation of $5-12 per family

Join us for seasonal nature and science programs each second Saturday of the month. Designed for children (ages 5–7) with their parents, these programs will explore cool topics in nature. Registration is required.

Spring
April 10: Backbones Not Required – Program full, wait list only
May 8: Bloodsuckers in your Backyard
June 12: Slime Time

COVID-19 Safety

Read our complete COVID-19 Program Participant Guidelines.

Our in-person programs will be held outdoors, even in the cold weather monthsOutdoor learning environments have been shown to be one of the safest ways to teach while  preventing the spread of COVID-19.  

Masks will be required at all times when social distancing (six feet apart) is not able to be maintained. This will continue until our local and state health officials say otherwise.

As much as our teaching approach is “hands-on,” we will be limiting touching and sharing. If any equipment or materials are needed as part of the program, we will provide participants with their own. All equipment and materials will be returned and individually disinfected at the end of the program.

Participants need to come prepared for all outdoor weather conditions. We suggest bringing a backpack with extra layers, including socks and hats, bottled water, and snacks, as well as insect repellent and sunscreen as-needed.

Fees

Given this time of financial hardship for our community and our organization, we are offering a new sliding scale fee structure aimed to provide greater flexibility in choosing a price that is right for you and your family.

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Hitchcock Center for the Environment