Infant & Toddler Classes
NFP enrollment can start as early as 6 weeks! The Caterpillars class serves students who are under 1 year by/on the first day of our "school year" (day after LaborDay).
Our infant and toddler students "follow their own schedule",
per DCF regulations, which means that
each child's individual feeding and
napping schedules are honored.
Our teams work closely with families
to learn and carry out all individual
details of care to provide the most
comfortable environment for our
Caterpillars teachers focus on many developmental milestones from
gross motor skills to oral language development. Our teachers are active bodies
who know that being on the floor playing, modeling, and speaking with children are best practice in early education. Our classrooms offer sensory exploration, gross motor equipment, music, hands-on art projects and more.
Our Caterpillars students get a lot of time on the floor to explore
their classrooms, but they also start their NFP nature experience! With a fenced,
grassy back-yard with age-appropriate play area directly off of the room, the Caterpillars kids can easily get outside multiple times a day. We also use wagons and buggies to go for walks around our great property!
The Butterflies class is intended for our oldest toddlers who
have not turned 2 years old before the first week of September.
Butterflies students continue to hone their gross motor skills with
active play, dancing, and yoga! These friends have a more defined
daily schedule and typically do just one nap a day (though we will
always adjust as necessary) on cots rather than cribs.
Butterflies develop terrific oral language skills and enjoy
lots of books, songs, art projects
and more. Learning goals
include repeating words and using two-word sentences as well as
beginning identifying and sorting and beginning to play dramatic- play games.
These students continue to build self-care skills that are first introduced in Caterpillars. Using utensils and lid-less cups, washing hands, putting on shoes, and zipping jackets are just some examples.
The Butterflies use a combination of our back-yard and traditional playground. They also begin age-appropriate hikes on our wooded nature trails.
Early Preschool Classes
Our students who are between 2 and 2.5 years old at the start of the
school year enter the Robins classroom. More than ever, these friends are ready to get active and soak up as much as they can. As fine motor skills develop, Robins students hone pencil- holding, and other more complex skills like unscrewing lids and carefully turning pages of a book. Robins friends love morning meetings and more group lessons on creative and nature- inspired themes.
Robins teachers encourage
the transition from parallel
play to more engagement with
peers, and teachers are always close by during center-play to add more language and information to
student games and activities. Independence building continues
as students clean up their plates, put on their coats, and
typically start more actively potty-training.
Robins students, being over 2 years old, are permitted by DCF to go outside during colder and warmer weather than students under the age of 2. Robins love stomping in mud puddles, exploring the climbers and little nooks in the nature playground, and go on longer hikes daily.
Friends who start the school year between 2.5 - 3 years are our Badgers class students. Badgers students are bursting with quickly developing communication and imagination. Dramatic play becomes a favorite and students work on expressing feelings and ideas in more complete sentences. Teachers help students make deeper connections with stories, experiences, and other peers.
Sorting, puzzles, and basic addition activities help develop math skills and lots of science exploration occurs both within and outside of the classroom. Badgers friends begin to solidify knowledge of pronouns, relationships, concepts of belonging, and more.
In addition to continued strong
community building, Badgers teachers
focus on the individualization of art projects and student observations
and comments, supporting the development of each unique learner.
Parents will recognize that this age group begins to assert themselves
more vocally and adamantly.Teachers understand that this
development of opinions and preferences is not
only totally typical ( Though we know that frequently hearing "No!"
from their children at home is not parents' favorite! ) but also
signals student social and emotional growth as they identify and
hone their sense of self.
The Badgers class has exhibited some of NFP leadership's favorite learning themes including "Holes" and "Dirt"! Needless to say, these students are real explorers!
The Bears class friends must be 3 years old by the beginning of the school year. 3K students are really in the swing of the school environment. By now pretty comfortable with daily routines, the Bears friends focus their time on more elaborate concepts across all
academics. Bears students spend much time forming letters and
words, identifying and reciting the letters of the alphabet and their
corresponding sounds, and differentiating between lower and upper
case letters. Comparing/contrasting, rhyming, and identifying
beginnings/middles/ends are skills that emerge at this time.
The Bears class engages in a lot of
student led exploration of dramatic play,
art, and science. Students will choose
math and literacy manipulatives more
readily and exhibit more properly
applicable skills. Teachers are conscious of spending time with
each student, encouraging their learning and curiosity.
Bears students frequently use the Nature classroom in our wooded area, taking learning outdoors and utilizing our great natural resources.
The NFP Eagles class is our 4K/5K equivalent. We are often asked if the Eagles program qualifies as an acceptable Kindergarten program from which students can transition into elementary school 5K or 1st grade. The answer is yes! While there is no formal association
with a local school required to count as "legitimate" Kindergarten,
we have worked closely with both Cedarburg and Grafton
elementary school leadership to review our Eagles learning
standards. All are in agreement that the Eagles program should
adequately prepare students to enter elementary school.
Well versed in daily routines and school expectations, Eagles
students dive into topics of
ecology, social justice,
leadership, and so much more.
Students continue to build proficiency in language, math, and STEAM subjects. An art center featuring - in one unit - paintings by Van Gogh, a bouquet of real sunflowers, and Van Gogh inspired student art shows the real world and classic connections facilitated by Eagles teachers. Multiple tanks hold various creatures, safely caught, from our pond by Eagles students and teachers, are used as living resources for a short time before being carefully released.