Stony Brook Nature Preschool

Four young children standing by a fence

Contact Us 

Hilary Johansen-Silve, Preschool Director
Email Us • Location & Directions

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Enrollment is open for the 2023-2024 school year. Complete an application form and learn how to secure a seat for your child for September.

Application Form >

Interior of Stony Brook preschool

What could be more magical than a preschool where each child's innate connection to nature is celebrated? Through hands-on activities, exploration, movement, and play, Mass Audubon's nature preschools support children's curiosity and wonder by using our wildlife sanctuaries as outdoor classrooms. Give your child a fun, unique, and adventurous learning experience that will last a lifetime. 

Stony Brook Nature Preschool can accommodate 18 children ages 3–5 per day. Enrollment is NOW OPEN for the 2023-2024 school year.

Statement of Purpose

Mass Audubon's Nature Preschools provide a high-quality environment for young children that helps them grow as learners, curious thinkers, community members, and lifelong stewards of the natural world.

Open Houses

Come meet the staff, see the preschool's indoor classroom, and explore the outdoor spaces students will enjoy at the wildlife sanctuary during an upcoming Open House:

  • Saturday, May 6: 9:30–11:00 am
  • Saturday, June 10: 9:30–11:00 am

Please email email us to register.

About the Preschool

Program Options for 2023-2024

We offer 5-day (Monday–Friday), 3-day (Monday/Wednesday/Friday), and 2-day (Tuesday/Thursday) options for students. If finances are getting in the way of your child attending Stony Brook Nature Preschool, assistance is available; please contact the preschool director to request a financial aid application.

5-Day Program

Monday–Thursday: 8:30 am–3:30 pm
Friday: 8:30 am–12:30 pm
Tuition: $1,844 per month

3-Day Program

Monday, Wednesday: 8:30 am–3:30 pm
Friday: 8:30 am–12:30 pm
Tuition: $1,030 per month

2-Day Program

Tuesday, Thursday: 8:30 am–3:30 pm 
Tuition: $808 per month

Our Curriculum

Instructor reading to a small group

At Stony Brook Nature Preschool, we create a wide variety of nature-based curriculum that reflects the needs of all our students. We have the flexibility to let children and nature guide our daily activities, all while following guidelines set by EEC.

We provide opportunities for indoor and outdoor play—both structured and unstructured—in order to develop cognitive, physical, social, and emotional growth. Children learn foundational skills in math, science, and literacy as they explore natural history through art, books, music, hands-on experiments, and play. The combination of outdoor adventures and shared learning experiences creates a strong sense of self, sense of place, and sense of community for each child.

Our Director

A portrait photo of Hilary Johansen-Silve with green trees and still water in the background. She has short, blond hair and is wearing a red blouse and white sweater.

Hilary Johansen-Silve (she/her) is Stony Brook's Preschool Director. She grew up right down the road in Walpole, MA, where she spent her childhood exploring the Neponset River collecting worms, tadpoles, frogs, water striders, and other creatures. Her family made frequent visits to Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries, as she had relatives working at various locations. Her love of nature has been steady throughout her life, yet she discovered a passion for environmental education during her college years. Studying the ecosystem of the Muddy River in Boston inspired her love of birds, especially ducks.

Hilary has been working for Mass Audubon since 2014, beginning her career at the Boston Nature Center’s Pathways to Nature Preschool. There, she finely honed her skills in early childhood education and was elevated to an administrative role. Mass Audubon Nature Preschools have given her an opportunity to pass on her love for the natural world to the next generation of environmental stewards. At Stony Brook Nature Preschool, Hilary and her teaching team have created a unique and awe-inspiring learning environment for all enrolled children.

Mass Audubon Membership

All enrolled families are required to have a current Mass Audubon family membership by the start of the school year. As a Mass Audubon member, you receive free access to our network of wildlife sanctuaries throughout the state, discounts on programs and the Mass Audubon Shop, and play a crucial role in supporting our mission to protect the nature of Massachusetts. Learn more about becoming a Mass Audubon member today.

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