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.

Registration for Fall 2021 programs will open on June 29 at 9pm. 

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 Afterschool Series

with Aemelia Thompson
Ages 5-7 or Grades K-1
Wednesdays, 3:30-5:30pm
September 15 – December 15  (no program November 24)
*Extended Days: October 20 & December 8
Fee per Child: Tier A-$436 | Tier B-$349 | Tier C-$261  | Tier D-$175
Limited to 10 participants

Hitchcock’s Junior 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 Fall Junior Nature Play we will explore wooded trails and fields, play pretend in our mud kitchen, and make leaf crowns. Our instructors provide a safe setting for children to explore nature and encourage children to stretch their limits.

Nature Play Afterschool Series

Ages 6-9 or Grades 1-3
Limited to 12 participants
Fee per Child: Tier A-$401 | Tier B-$321 | Tier C-$241  | Tier D-$160

with Aemelia Thompson
Mondays 3:30-5:30pm
September 13 – December 13 (no program October 11)
*Extended Day:  September 13

OR

With Monya Relles
Tuesdays 3:30-5:30pm
September 14  – December 14

OR

With Jeff Mazur
Wednesdays 3:30-5:30pm
September 22 – December 15 (no program November 24)
*Extended Day: October 20th and December 8th

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 Fall Nature Play we will explore wooded trails and fields, jump in leaf piles, 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.

Homeschool I: Making and Tinkering a Better Future

With Monya Relles
Grades 1-3, Ages 6-8
Tuesdays 10am -2pm
September 14 -December 7 (No program September 28, October 19, and November 23 for Discovery Days)
Tier A:$728 Tier B:$582 Tier C:$437 Tier D:$292
Limited to 12 participants (if over enrolled, we may open a second class on Thursdays)

In this fall’s Homeschool I class we will be exploring how we create and tinker with the world around us. We will learn by playing with pendulums, marble runs, circuit boards, and more. Through the challenges of making and tinkering we’ll also explore what it means to make mistakes and have resilience, even when something takes more than one try. This class will also have time built in for free play, journal time and organized games.

Girls into the Wild Series

Ages 8–11 or Grades 3–5
Limited to 12 participants

with Katie Koerten
Thursdays, 3:30-5:30pm
September 23 – December 16 (no program November 25)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$357 | Tier B-$286| Tier C-$214  | Tier D-$143

-OR-

with Monya Relles
Thursdays, 3:30pm-5:30pm
September 23 – December 16 (no program November 25)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$357 | Tier B-$286 | Tier C- $214 | Tier D-$143

Girls into the Wild is back in Fall 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 – exploring the seasonal beauty of nature as we go. Play games, make friends, and create nature projects in the outdoors! Come build your confidence and show your wild side! Genderqueer, nonbinary, agender and transgender young people are welcome! Please note that the program WILL be held on November 11 – Veteran’s Day!

Second Saturday Family Science (In-Person Outside and Inside)

with Aemelia Thompson
Ages 5–7 or Grades  K–1
Saturdays, 10–11am
September 11, October 9, November 13, December 11
Suggested Donation: $5–$30 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.  

September 11: Composting Critters
October 9: Spiders!
November 13: Oh Deer!
December 11:  Crystals and Snowflakes

Monarch Tagging 

With Jennifer Unkles
All ages
Saturday, September 18, 2:30-4pm

Drop in to see how monarch butterflies are tagged and ask questions about this amazing creature and their hope filled cycle of survival. 

OR

With Jennifer Unkles
Ages 3+
Wednesday, September 22, 4-5:30pm
Suggested Donation: $5–$30 per person
Limited to 12 participants

The monarch butterflies are back and their cycle continues! Come for a small group class to see them up close, learn about their fascinating life cycle, tag and release pre-caught butterflies and then take a hike to look for others. Nets and supplies will be provided. We often find other insects on these walks. Data collected will be added for scientific research through the Monarch Watch Citizen Science Project.

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