Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
A boardwalk cutting through tall green shrubs and trees.
Boston Nature Center, Mattapan

Nature Preschool at Boston Nature Center

Pathways to Nature Preschool at the Boston Nature Center is a nature-based preschool serving a diverse community of students, ages 3-6. We recognize the various needs of children of different ages, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds, learning styles, and stages of development to create a safe, engaging atmosphere for young learners.

Our preschool provides age-appropriate, experiential, and inquiry-based activities, which adhere to the practices of Massachusetts standards, in a nurturing learning environment through a focus on structured and unstructured outdoor play.

BNC preschoolers playing in fall leaves

Nature Preschool Goals

The Pathways to Nature Preschool offers an educational and nurturing experience that encourages child-led inquiry. Our goals are to:

  • Provide children with a safe environment to grow, learn, and respect people and nature.
  • Connect children to nature to develop a lifelong passion for the environment and its stewardship.
  • Help children recognize the natural world as part of the urban environment.

Children explore, discover, observe, and experience the natural world using all of their senses while developing an appreciation for nature. Structured and self-directed play nurtures children’s imagination, creativity, and self-esteem.

Download our informational packet to learn more about our teaching philosophy, curriculum, classes, and our commitment to anti-bias teaching.

download Program Overview & Info Packet (272.4 kB)

Classroom & Age Groups

Pathways to Nature Preschool currently offers four classrooms, grouped by age.

Busy Bees, age 3 by September

During this year, there is an instrumental focus on teaching foundational social and emotional skills. These skills include (but are certainly not limited to) separating from a caregiver, turn taking, raising a hand to speak, managing big feelings, putting on a jacket, dressing themselves, following multi-step directions, and advocating for one’s own needs. 

They delight in filling a bird feeder, wielding a stick, and splashing in puddles. They are insatiable in their curiosity and will not hesitate to ask the one question that is always on their minds: “why?”

Curious Crickets, age 4 by September

The Curious Crickets continue to reinforce and build upon those critical social and emotional skills. Their perspective taking skills continue to grow and increasingly complex prosocial behavior is encouraged (sharing, helping, cooperating, empathizing).  

They are becoming increasingly curious about the natural world and are starting to notice patterns of changes in the environment. They can voice their own opinions with confidence, and work together to answer their questions about the natural world

Daring Dragonflies, age 5 by September

At this age, the Dragonflies are typically able to play cooperatively, take turns, and can offer help when they see a friend in distress. They are beginning to understand that their actions have consequences and are starting to be able to recognize and label unfairness in the world around them.

They participate in weekly writing workshops, guided literacy groups, and math workshops in addition to outdoor exploration. They are excited to collect and organize data and can draw basic conclusions based on their findings. As the progress through the school year, they are starting to understand how their own actions, and the actions of all people, can affect the environment around them


The Pathways to Nature Preschool is year-round, full-day program that runs Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-3:30 pm. The year starts in September and ends the following August (or June for Daring Dragonflies). 

For an additional cost, you have the option of enrolling in Extended Day, which runs Monday-Friday, 3:30-6:00 pm.

Registration and Tuition

All classes are currently full for 2022-2023. Join the waitlist

Pathways to Nature Preschool is pleased to offer a sliding scale tuition based on adjusted gross family income. Income verification is required for Tiers 1-4.

 Total Adjusted Gross Household IncomeMonthly Tuition
Tier 1Under $48,000$685
Tier 2$48,000-$75,000$950
Tier 3$75,001-$100,000$1,326
Tier 4$100,001-$130,000$1,664
Tier 5over $130,000$1,898

Accreditation & Safety

The Pathways to Nature Preschool is licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education & Care, and we are following all of their COVID-19 protocols for health and safety. Boston Nature Center is also in compliance with the design standards for building accessibility in 521 CMR (Architectural Access Board).

Contact Information

To learn more or get answers to your questions, please email us or call 617-983-8500.