Nature Preschool


Check out our FALL SPECIALS (valid through December 20, 2018)

  • Sibling Discount: Save $100 on your March tuition when you register a sibling for the Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center. *
  • Afternoon Discount: Save $100 on your March tuition when you register for an afternoon session at the Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center.*
  • Refer-a-friend: Receive a $50 credit on your March tuition payment when you refer a friend that registers and attends the program. (Only valid if the student enrolls in the program and is still active at the time that the March tuition payment is due).*

*Fall Specials are valid only for the 2018-2019 school year; subject to availability. Limit one promotional discount per student.

The Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center

Tuition Rate and Policies

The Nature Preschool is a program of Ijams Nature Center, a 501(c) 3 non-profit. We rely on revenue from tuition fees for the preschool’s operating expenses. It is essential that you pay tuition promptly and regularly. By enrolling your child in Nature Preschool and signing the Contract for Preschool Services, you agree to pay the fees as set out in the policies and procedures.

Annual Tuition is $1960. A $200 deposit is necessary to secure a child’s place in the Nature Preschool. The deposit is non-refundable and will be applied to the March tuition payment. Tuition is due quarterly on the following dates: September 1, November 1, January 1, and March 1.

A one-time $60 discount is made to accounts paid in full for the entire preschool year by check or cash on or before the first day of preschool.

Note: Students must be fully potty-trained, and be 3 years of age by September 1, 2018 to be eligible for the preschool.

The Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center


Two-days sessions will be offered for both morning and afternoon. The enrollment options for the 2018-2019 school year are:


  • Monday/Wednesday Morning (9 am – 12 pm)
  • Tuesday/Thursday Morning (9 am – 12 pm)
  • Monday/Wednesday Afternoon (1 pm – 4 pm)
  • Tuesday/Thursday Afternoon (1 pm – 4 pm)

2018-2019 School Calendar

Monday, August 20                                                         First Day of School

Monday, September 3                                                     Labor Day (Holiday)

Wednesday, November 21- Friday, November 23     Thanksgiving Break

Monday, December 24-Friday, January 4                  Winter Break

Monday, January 21                                                         Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day   (Holiday)

Thursday, May 23                                                             Last Day of School

The Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center

More About the Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center

The Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center (NPINC) is a unique learning experience that takes inquiry and discovery into the outdoors! Not only does this provide an amazing resource for our Knoxville community, but it is also a wonderful way to strengthen our mission. NPINC focuses on child-led, age-appropriate, and experiential learning for children ages 3-5. Most of the day will be spent outdoors, exploring nature and making a strong connection with the environment. Children will learn through play and exploration. NPINC develops the whole child. Not only do children develop a solid foundation for lifelong learning, but they also cultivate a love of nature that is the basis for a conservation ethic later in life.

Download the Parent Handbook for the 2018-2019 school year.

Register Now!

What is a Nature-Based Preschool?

To be considered a Nature-Based Preschool, nature must be at the heart of the program. While Nature Preschools have the same child development goals as any other high quality preschool, the curriculum and teachers achieve these developmental goals through nature-based experiences.

A nature-based preschool provides children with special opportunities to learn about the natural world, while also providing daily opportunities for personal growth and achievement. In addition to providing age-appropriate and experiential learning opportunities, connecting with nature allows young children to form a deeper bond with nature. With this emotional attachment in place, the child is primed for learning more about nature and for taking care of it—since most people want to understand and care for the things they love. Over 100 years ago the American naturalist John Burroughs said it perfectly, “Learning without love will not stick. But if love comes first, learning is sure to follow.”

The Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center

Nature Preschool and Early Childhood Development

The Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center will develop a balanced curriculum that seeks to develop the whole child. Holistic development refers to children growing up with strong and effective stimulation of all the developmental domains: cognitive (intellectual), creative, physical, social/emotional, and spiritual. All of these are supported and boosted by frequent play in natural settings.

To do this most effectively, the children’s activities draw from their own interests, discoveries, and observations—with the preschool’s natural settings providing a treasure trove of opportunities and adventure. General themes may be followed, such as seasonal changes, natural cycles, weather, plant growth, and animal habitats, but each day’s activities remain flexible, to allow for the ever-changing delights and surprises of nature.

This child-led approach to education fits seamlessly with current understanding of how young children best grow and develop. Despite American society’s apparent obsession with moving formal academic instruction into earlier and earlier ages, research is now showing us that developing the whole child is excellent preparation for school readiness.

Forest Kindergarten in Germany

Registration Dates

Preschool Summer Camp: OPEN NOW! Find out more here.

Nature Preschool: OPEN NOW! Find out more here.


For more information, please read our Nature Preschool Frequently Asked Questions.