Nature based Preschool
Ketcha offers unique outdoor programming in our nature based preschool for kids 3-5. Our “outdoor classrooms” include 107 acres of forest, fields, farm, streams and a pond. Ketcha is tucked between the seashore and the salt marshes of Scarborough, Maine.
September through May our students are active in the outdoors learning while playing, hiking, gardening, and visiting the animals at the farm. Play based learning is fostered with long blocks of time for our students to immerse in our many natural settings. We provide the freedom and support needed for child led exploration, exciting discoveries, imagination and creativity, risk taking, problem solving, socializing and relaxing into mindful moments.
We focus on students’ interests and curiosities to pursue topics and develop activities following our Ecology ABC’s through the year. We combine emergent topics with nature lessons to fulfill our mission for place based environmental learning preparing them for a lifetime of stewardship and sustainability. To further support learning in the area of emergent literacy our circle times feature letter of the week lessons on bugs and birds, farming, weather, seasons, plants and animals of Maine, connections and cycles of nature, geography, geology, and more.
Our teachers are trained to support students as they develop their social emotional skills. Using our three rules at school of being kind, safe, and gentle we teach and guide kids through interactions with others and solve conflicts with kind and direct communication. As we move through our themes we teach correlating breathing exercises that can help them calm down when things are challenging. Supporting kids as they grow their relationships with teachers, peers, and all living things is an important piece of their social emotional development.
Our preschool and pre-k programs are taught by kind, qualified teachers who are passionate about the value of nature-based education for young children. They receive specific training in social/emotional learning, play based learning, and supporting children with problem solving. To learn more about our teachers, and the other wonderful staff at Ketcha, visit Meet Our Staff.
Preschool runs Monday-Thursday mornings from 8:30-12:00 with the optional add on of afternoons and Fridays. In order to register for an afternoon session, you must first be signed up for that morning session. The morning session runs from 8:30-12:00, the afternoon session adds on 12:00-3:00.
Because we are based outdoors in unfenced woods it is a requirement of the program that children are able to stay with the group and not run away. Children are also required to be potty trained and independently using the toilet. We keep a 6:1 ratio of students per teacher.
We can accommodate children who require 1:1 support if their support professional is provided by the family or through another service. Please contact the preschool director Emma Dixon at email@example.com if your child requires additional support to discuss whether or not this program would be a good fit for your child.
- Tuition payments are due on the first of each month starting August 1st and ending April 1st. A $25 fee will be charged for late payments.
- Monthly payments are equalized. The number of program days per month varies depending on holidays.
A visit is required before registration. When registering only check off September. This will hold your spot for the whole school year through May. Our system is set up as monthly sessions for payment processing. You need only pay $70 to hold your spot. Of that, $20 is a once yearly registration fee and the other $50 will be credited to your first month’s tuition. Enrollment is open throughout the year based on availability.