This fall Indian Creek Nature Center will begin offering a new educational program, The Fresh Air Academy, to area preschoolers through fifth graders to “fill the gap” in education and supplement virtual learning this school year.
Studies show a daily dose of nature — at least 20 minutes per day — can significantly lower stress hormone levels and improve mental health. Especially now, when children are spending the majority of their days in front of a screen or indoors, these types of experiences are critical. This six-week drop-off program will take place at ICNC’s Amazing Space campus and will immerse children in our prairie, woodland and wetlands four days a week, giving them the opportunity to spend that much-needed time in nature, safely learning and exploring with their peers alongside Indian Creek Nature Center’s expert naturalists.
“We are eager to introduce The Fresh Air Academy as a support for families looking to supplement their child’s learning with rich, child-led outdoor experiences,” says ICNC Director of Education Kelli Kennon-Lane. “Facilitated by our experienced and trained interpretive naturalists and volunteer teacher naturalists, these sessions will be educational, as well as fun and spontaneous, giving children time and space to physically and mentally stretch.”
The Fresh Air Academy will have three sessions (fall, winter and spring), with a morning and afternoon option. Each session is limited to 20 total participants (10 in the morning, 10 in the afternoon). The first session begins November 9 and runs through December 18. The winter session begins January 4 and runs through January 29. Finally, the spring session begins April 5 and runs through May 14.
Children can be enrolled in a public school virtual or in-person program or a homeschool program. All are welcome regardless of their formal education plans for the 2020-21 school year. Fees range from $300 to $480, depending on the session and membership. Registration is now open, and we anticipate this program will fill quickly. Parents who are interested in enrolling their child should do so early to save their spot.