Outdoor Programs for Children
With the increase in screen time due to online learning and heightened anxiety due to the many challenges of COVID-19, the need for children to spend time in nature has never been greater.
We are proud to offer our community a variety of COVID-safe, outdoor programs for children. These programs fill essential childcare needs and provide enriching opportunities for children to spend time in nature exploring, having fun, and learning.
Our programs are run fully outdoors to maximize time in nature and to ensure the health and safety of children and staff. Staff are carefully selected based on their teaching experience, nature knowledge, and deep commitment to engaging children with the outdoors. Many were once summer campers themselves and have returned to share their appreciation of nature. We pride ourselves on our staff's longevity and devotion to each child's wellbeing.
School Day Alternative
Wednesdays starting in March
This new program was launched in fall 2020 in response to high demand from homeschool families and others looking for full day, nature-based programs. Participants spend one day per week at Pleasant Valley immersed in nature. Students learn science, play games, and practice outdoor and naturalist skills.
The next program begins in March and will run weekly on Wednesdays from 9:00 am-3:00 pm. For more information, please send an email to Max Galdos-Shapiro.
|"Both children were in need of social interaction after months of disconnect due to COVID. As in past programs, the staff were exceptional. Their holistic approach to teaching—not just about science, but respecting nature and each other—helps children form deep connections to the natural world, as well as peers and counselors." —Parent of School Day Alternative participants|
School Vacation Camp
Pleasant Valley’s school vacation camps are a great balance of learning and fun! Children explore the sanctuary, build their skills as naturalists, and learn science through games and experiments. With limited spaces, our April programs will fill up quickly!
|"I have gone to February and April vacation camps and love seeing Pleasant Valley in different seasons. I got to hike and explore different habitats. One of my favorite activities was seeing and learning about the different amphibian eggs. Learning about nature has made me care about climate change." —Vacation Week Camper|
Weekly sessions June 28-August 27
This year marks the 75th summer of Berkshire Nature Camp at Pleasant Valley. Our programs offer one-week opportunities for children ages 3-13 to discover the wonders of nature at our sanctuary.
This summer, we're thrilled to once again offer our Knee-High Naturalist program for ages 3-5. Discoverers (ages 5-6) gain a greater connection to nature and curiosity about the outdoors through games, songs, and hands-on exploration. Explorers (ages 7-9) explore the far reaches of Pleasant Valley, including a hike to the summit of Lenox Mountain, in search of the hidden wonders of the natural world. Naturalists (ages 10-13) dive deep into the incredible complexity of the natural world, exploring the sanctuary off the beaten path and using real scientific techniques to investigate the outdoors.
Weekly camp sessions run June 28-August 27 and are filling up quickly!
|"I thank you profoundly for creating a space where my daughter could step outside the COVID craziness and just enjoy nature!" —2020 Camp Parent|