Welcome to Nature Preschool


Our Nature Preschool welcomed its first class the fall of 2016 and is an extension of the Learning Tree Farm’s mission to provide hands-on learning experiences for children and families in a traditional farm setting.  We are excited to be able to provide our students with all the components parents look for in a high-quality “traditional” preschool program, while fully immersing them in the natural surroundings of our 85-acre farm and woodlands complete with hiking trails, historical structures, gardens, fields, and dozens of farm animals to explore and discover each and every day!






About Us

Our program is shaped by the Reggio-Emilia educational approach. This means we take our lead from the curiosity and wonder of our young learners and embrace our environment as a valuable component, almost as another teacher, of the learning process. Project-based learning experiences and daily reflections by both students & staff play heavily in guiding our program. We also embrace a process art (i.e. free painting with a variety of materials chosen by the child) vs. product art (i.e.group projects that look identical) approach. Learning and creative materials complement the natural classroom spaces found outdoors and indoors to round out this unique and invaluable educational experience.

One of the most obvious elements of a nature-based program that really sets us apart from a more traditional setting is that our classes are outside every day, even in light rain and snow, for the majority of our time together. Never fear, to ensure safety and comfort, we work closely with our student’s families to assure proper clothing and skin protection for all seasons. In addition, safety precautions are adhered to and we are not outside when it is pouring rain, when there is thunder or lightning, or in the cases of severely cold temperatures. In such situations, we limit our outdoor time accordingly.

 We are eager to share our passion for building a community of lifelong learners and lovers of nature at the Learning Tree Farm Nature Preschool with you & your family!

Our Philosophy

We believe that concrete daily experiences in nature, with ample time to explore, build children’s ability to problem solve and self-regulate. 

Our emergent and child-centered curriculum allows us to investigate nature and the farm using a multidisciplinary approach. By harnessing children’s natural curiosity, and using multiple senses, we are able to meet children’s developmental needs while creating a deep connection with nature.

We believe that early, repeated exposure to the natural world facilitates growth of personal identity and an understanding of the interconnection between humans and their environments.

Connect with Us

The Nature Preschool center is located just north of the original Learning Tree Farm at 3274 South Union Rd. on the southwest side of Dayton, Ohio.

You can contact us year round at nature.preschool@learningtreefarm.org


Program Highlights


Licensed preschool through the State of Ohio

Classes are 2 days/week and run from the end of August through May

We have an extended winter “hibernation” from mid-December to the beginning of February.

Classes are mixed-aged three to five year-olds

Incoming students are required to be toilet trained and using underwear. Please contact our Director for any questions regarding this policy.

Child to Staff Ratio

Our smaller class size enhances learning opportunities and foster community allowing children to develop relationships with their peers and teachers.

We aim to spend at least 65-75% of every day out of doors

and when the weather is fair, you will often find us outside for the whole day!

Project based learning with an emergent curriculum and the Reggio-Emilia inspired approach


We use StoryPark for documentation and parent communication

Lead teachers train in First Aid, CPR, Communicable Disease, and Child Abuse Identification


Below you will find our schedule for the 2024-2025 school year.

All classes are groups of mixed-age students from 3-5 years of age.

Regular Preschool Schedule


  • 2 classes of 15 students each.
  • Cardinal class runs on Mondays & Wednesdays, from 9 am-1 pm
  • Blue Jay class runs on Tuesdays & Thursdays, from 9 am-1 pm
  • A daily healthy morning snack will be provided.
  • Students will bring a packed lunch each day. 
  • The majority of programming will be held outdoors and weather depending we may wrap up the day indoors.
  • We continue to follow CDC guidelines for covid mitigation, including masking when extended exposures have occurred. For more information visit (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/isolation.html ) or feel free to contact the Preschool Director with additional questions at Nature.Preschool@LearningTreeFarm.org
  • There is a $100 non-refundable registration fee if you are awarded an enrollment offer.
  • 2024-25, monthly tuition for this level of programming is 8 monthly payments of $350 for classes from August – May with no payments made in January or May.

Friday Falcons

This add-on class is for students who are already enrolled in our Nature Preschool.

The Friday Falcons class extends the content explored earlier in the week but has more of an emphasis on researching (reading), documentation (writing), and performing additional science experiments.

  • Offered on Fridays from 9am-1pm,  February-April
  • Composed of a mixed group of students from the Blue Jay and Cardinal classes for a total of 10-12 children
  • This class has an additional cost.
  • Enrollment offers will be made during fall parent/teacher conferences
  • Offers are based on the student’s age, their ability to participate, self-regulate, and move throughout their Cardinal/Blue Jay day independently.


The 2024-2025 school year runs from the end of August to the end of May.

School Holidays include:

Fall Break, the week of Thanksgiving

Winter Break, the second half of December & all of January

Spring Break, one week during the end of March/beginning of April

Individual Federal Holidays


Enrollment process.

Children must be 3 years old by August 1st and be fully toilet trained by the first day of school. New enrollees cannot have turned 5 years old before August 1st.

Enrollment for Nature Preschool is done through a lottery, with returning students filling the first round of available slots, siblings filling the second round, and new families filling the third round until all 15 slots in both classes, for a total of 30 slots, are filled.

How much does it cost?

Tuition for the 2024-2025 year consists of a $100  non-refundable registration fee to be paid upon receipt of an enrollment offer and 8 monthly payments of $350 for care from August – May with no payments made in January or May. 



Nature.Preschool@LearningTreeFarm.org FOR MORE DETAILS.

HOW DO I enroll my child?

 To sign up for the 2024-2025 enrollment lottery,
you will need to complete the following google form between January 2 – February 4, 2024.

enrollment lottery application form for the 2024-25 school year will be located HERE from Jan 2 – Feb 4, 2024.


open houses

Typically we do not give tours throughout the school year, but we do invite you to join us for our annual OPEN HOUSES to meet some of our staff, explore our indoor & outdoor spaces and learn more about our programs.

Friday, January 26, 2024 5:30-7pm and

Saturday, January 27, 2024 10am-1pm

Future Interest Form

From time to time we have families with children who are too young to enroll for Nature Preschool who want to be involved in the Learning Tree Farm Community or want to be kept current on its comings and goings.  We have created the “Future Nature Preschool Interest Form” to engage those families. 

By signing up for this email list you will receive reminders about programming, documentation on learning at community programs, and a heads up when our enrollment periods begin as well as reminders of open houses.

We are so pleased to have you join in the nature-based educational movement in the Miami Valley! 

***Please note, signing up for this email list is NOT enrollment in the preschool or its waitlist.  It is for information distribution ONLY. ***

Meet the Learning Tree Farm
Nature Preschool Teaching Team!

As Education professionals, we have studied our field a great deal and are intentionally creating this community to be a place where learning and exploration is hands-on and child led. The teachers’ role in our program is to create an environment where children can explore social, academic, and natural topics. To achieve this we will observe, learn about the children, and then reflect on how to alter the environment to foster meaningful interactions and growth opportunities. We feel it is important that the children view us as co-learners in our community and as such ask that they address us by our first names. We appreciate it if you do this as well,  both as members of the community we are forming, and to set an example for your children. We look forward to getting to know more about you and your young learners and  invite you to get to know a little more about each of us below. 

René Hick  Preschool Director & Teacher at Learning Tree Farm Nature Preschool  | Early Childhood Educator for over 10 years  | A member of the LTF Education Team since 2016

I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Michigan and my  nursing background continues to be the foundation for my developmentally appropriate practice and holistic approach to early education. I approach each child where they are, validating them as a multi-dimensional human being, and differentiate my approach based on their individual needs. I believe Learning Tree Farm is a wonderful place to make discoveries about ourselves and our connection to the natural world.

Amy  Thompson

Teacher at Learning Tree Farm Nature Preschool in the Cardinal Class 

Educator for over 20 years 

A Member of the Learning Tree Farm Education Team Since 2020

After graduating from Purdue University with a B.A. in Elementary Education I have worked in a variety    of educational settings over the years   and feel incredibly fortunate to have landed at the Learning Tree Farm & Nature Preschool. I believe that the child-led exploration that takes place  in our variety of learning spaces is by     far one of the most enriching and magical experiences for all of us on  this early learning journey. The opportunity to work and learn alongside our students is an amazing gift that fulfills my goal as an   educator, which is to share and develop a deeper curiosity and love of learning that will serve them throughout their whole lives. I  can’t wait to explore and discover with you and your family!

Jennifer Hartman

  Teacher at Learning Tree Farm
Nature Preschool in the Cardinal Class

  Discovery Coordinator

Early Childhood Educator for almost 30 years

A member of the LTF Education Team since 2021

 I have always loved child-led, play-based learning as the best approach to fostering: self-esteem, independence,  social emotional development and problem solving in young children.  I absolutely love seeing the excitement on children’s faces as they navigate a variety of environments, using an array of materials as  they experiment, learn and grow.  It is a beautiful thing to witness childhood being respected, valued and restored here at Learning Tree Farm Nature Preschool.

Sarah Lamont

Teacher at Learning Tree Farm
Nature Preschool in the
Cardinal & Blue Jay Classes

Staff  Naturalist 

Outdoor & Early Childhood Educator
for over 20 years

A member of the LTF Education Team since 2015

I strongly believe everyone benefits from having a connection to the outdoors and I really love watching children make their own nature discoveries.  From splashing in mud puddles, to counting all the legs of all of our goats, and nature journaling in the woods, young learners have exciting opportunities at  Learning Tree Farm to explore nature. I credit my love of nature to a childhood on a unique piece of land that was both a sheep farm and prairie fen. I graduated from Michigan Technological University with a BS in Geology.

Shana lloyd

Teacher at Learning Tree Farm
Nature Preschool in the Blue Jay Class

Staff  Gardening Specialist

Outdoor & Early Childhood Educator
for over  years 6

A member of the LTF Education Team since 2023

One of life’s greatest yet sometimes unrealized gifts is how impactful and educational a connection to nature can truly be. I’ve spent the last two decades honing in on my own personal connection, deepening this appreciation on many adventures and in the garden too! I love to see the excitement and wonder as children explore the outdoors, get dirty in wild spaces and be able to embrace that curiosity and encourage their play. Learning Tree Farm is such a special place and  through their own discoveries and connection to nature, children can build confidence and be given the foundation truly needed for a bright, always-growing future! 

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