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Posted on April 28, 2016 | 2:20 p.m.

Wilderness Youth Project to Launch Outdoor Programs for Preschool-Age Children

Learning comes naturally to little ones, especially when surrounded by nature. This Fall, Wilderness Youth Project will operate an outdoor program for early childhood, which has space for 12 young learners. Click to view larger
Learning comes naturally to little ones, especially when surrounded by nature. This Fall, Wilderness Youth Project will operate an outdoor program for early childhood, which has space for 12 young learners. (Wilderness Youth Project photo)

Source: Anthony Hickling for Wilderness Youth Project | updated logo

In early childhood, learning comes naturally. This is especially true when that learning takes place outdoors, and the growth in numbers of outdoor programs for this age group represent good news for early childhood. Wilderness Youth Project is proud to join the network of nearly 250 outdoor programs for preschool-age children this fall.

Led by veteran preschool teacher and nature mentor Kelly Villarruel, this program will offer a four-day per week option for 12 Santa Barbara students.

Wilderness Youth Project’s early childhood program, called Woolly Bears, is a place where young children connect with nature through outdoor play, curiosity and awareness. Developmentally appropriate routines include gratitude circles, games and songs, all mirroring the patterns of surrounding nature.

Woolly Bears participants learn social peacemaking and creative problem-solving skills that will prepare them for a smooth and successful transition into kindergarten.

By experiencing seasonal transitions outdoors, participants have the opportunity to cultivate a heightened awareness of the subtleties of nature. They direct their own learning by investigating curiosity, and ultimately can experience a deep sense of place.

These opportunities for growth provide a foundation for physical, emotional and social intelligence that lasts a lifetime.

Anthony Hickling is the office manager for Wilderness Youth Project.

 
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