Little Hikers Nature School

Little Hikers is a nature-based program where our day-to-day activities are centered around play and

Operating as usual


We help our kiddos learn to love and respect nature. Some of our kiddos were so proud of their sign! The reverse says “Leave the trees alone!” ❤️
We put our sign out for everyone to see and then take it home!


What do we do when it’s cold? We gear up and explore! 🧊❄️😊


Supporting appropriate risk taking is one way we help kiddos learn and grow!

Photos from Little Hikers Nature School's post 12/17/2023

When you find so many rose petals, you make your own gardens!


We finally looked around the classroom at the new Eno Visitor Center! These kiddos got to see regionally specific animals, feel fur, and look at native plants in the microscope!


When hiking with baby dolls, we baby wear!


The epitome of early childhood… At Little Hikers this is what learning looks like!

Photos from Little Hikers Nature School's post 12/07/2022

Such rainy day fun! All the recent rain is inspiring our daily adventures. We are having such a blast exploring streams and puddles!

We are accepting applications for next school year. Apply for free at

We are continuing to grant priority in enrollment to Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, as well as LGBTQIA and neurodiverse families.

We appreciate your help in spreading the word about our program!

Photos from Little Hikers Nature School's post 11/21/2022

One of the questions we get asked the most (second only to “what do you do when it rains”) is “what do you do when it is cold?”

Our answer: We bundle up and explore, because there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing!

If you believe that too, learn more about our program at! We are now accepting applications for Fall 2023. Apply for free on our website!

A goal we are continuing to work on is creating a more equitable community. As part of this commitment, we are granting priority in enrollment to Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, as well as LGBTQIA and neurodiverse families.

We would appreciate your help in spreading the word about our one of a kind program!

Photos from Little Hikers Nature School's post 10/25/2022

This is going to be a long one…Trust us, it’s worth it.

Today our children noticed an area with logs of various sizes and they proceeded to climb on them. After some climbing, they noticed the saw dust on the ground and became interested in playing with it. Soon, they figured out they could use big pieces of bark to collect and shovel the saw dust into buckets.
Then, they noticed a particularly long, thin, and hollowed out log, which was just perfect for putting saw dust into and then using a stick to mash it! Meanwhile, on an adjacent log, another child used a big piece of bark as a “knife” to chop the saw dust into smaller pieces. She went through a process of chopping, scooting, and scooping the saw dust into a bowl (a piece of bark) with such finesse.

During this moment, we (teachers) stayed out of their way, watching in awe and engaging with them when they chose to engage with us. We learned they were “making tortillas”!

This self-directed process work, the cooperation, imagination, focus, and the way it all unfolded right in front of us left us with such admiration.

The trusting and respectful partnership that we experienced, where the children led the moment, so focused on their play, while we stayed out of their way, nearby enough to document the moment was just beautiful, like a well choreographed dance.

Giving our children the time and space to engage in this play says to them that their play is important, their ideas are important, THEY are IMPORTANT!


We have an opening for our current school year! Visit our website to apply for free!


Today we went “fishing” at the river. How did you spend this chilly fall day?


When fall gives you leaves…

YOU MAKE A BIRDS’ NEST! (& pretend to be birds, of course)

🐣 🪹🐦🦉🪶


At Little Hikers we are all about slowing down and connecting with each other, because we believe we ALL thrive through strong positive connections. After all, we all want to feel loved, appreciated, and part of a community. 💗


The magic of nature’s loose parts.

A piece of bark covered in moss with a bright red leaf on top transforms into a boat. A pinecone with an oak leaf tucked in between its scales becomes a sail. Then, three acorns turn into a family of people, sailing on the sea.

🍂🌊⛵️ ❤️

All you need is a little imagination, freedom, and loose parts!


Today we discovered “the sitting rock”, a rock that is just the right size for one friend to sit on. You may find yourself asking, what does everyone else do? Well, we count to 10 and practice waiting patiently for our turn on this very special rock!
At Little Hikers we are all about using outdoor exploration and discovery to nurture so many other skills!

We have just 1 spot left! Apply today for free at


Cheers to a new school year & the many connections already forming on Day 1! 🎉💗

A spot just became available for the new school year! Apply for free at

Photos from Little Hikers Nature School's post 07/28/2022

Summer is for water play in the river and bubbles.🫧


And just like that, our first week of summer camp has come to an end.

We climbed, explored with lose parts, admired nature, and even worked together during parachute play!

Our week was fuIl of joy, exploration, and connection! ❤️

Photos from Little Hikers Nature School's post 04/08/2022

Wildlife Encounters! 🦅

Can you identify our findings?

Our exclusively outdoor program provides unique opportunities to connect with nature! Moreover, with each encounter we make sure to leverage the intrinsic motivation provided by nature to foster our children’s ability slow-down, focus and listen to each other’s ideas!

Learn more at


What do we do when it rains? 🌧🌧

Have a blast exploring our extraordinary environment! As the weather changes around us, our Little Hikers experience the full effect of the seasons! Navigating in and around newly formed creeks not only helps build fundamental motor skills like coordination and balance, it strengthens our connection with nature and with each other!

Learn more at


We want to say thank you to we are and NCCU School of Education for the thought provoking, hard, and necessary educational experience they provided our educators with at the Let’s Talk Racism 2022 conference this weekend.

Thank you for encouraging us to sit with and lean into discomfort.

Thank you for reminding us to use our voice and skills to push for racial equity and social justice, to challenge the status quo, to disrupt whiteness.

Thank you for “planting seeds” that we will continuously work on cultivating into actions.

Photos from Little Hikers Nature School's post 03/15/2022

What started off as fingerpainting next to the river turned into so much more. We were reminded of the importance of process over product as our Little Hikers covered the paper with an abundance of paint. Then, one child proceeded to sprinkle a little bit of dirt, adding a different tactile sensation. The other children watched, then copied. Soon, the paper was covered with dirt. As the children rubbed it into the paint, a tear developed on the paper. Before long, the paper had been torn into many pieces and was mixed with more dirt. I commented that their project reminded me of paper mache and they happily continued to mix the paper with the dirt as they declared, “We are making a cake!”

This is what preschool art should look like. 💗

We are continuing to process and accept applications for Fall 2022 and are granting priority in enrollment to Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color as well as LGBTQIA families. Apply for free at

We are also looking to hire a teacher for summer camp! If you or someone you know loves being with children + enjoys exploring the outdoors, email us at [email protected]


While sitting on rocks next to the river, we learned a new song called “The River Is Flowing”.

After singing it together, one of our Little Hikers remarked, “I think the river said thank you to us for singing the song.” 💗

With every passing day, even cold and rainy ones, it’s clear that the abundance of time our children spend exploring and playing in our amazing outdoors is building their appreciation and connection with nature. We are so proud and thankful that we get to foster such feelings!

We are currently processing and continuing to accept applications for next school year! As part of our work towards providing equitable opportunities to families from marginalized backgrounds, we are granting priority in enrollment to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ families. Fill out a free application at


Don’t mind me I’m just exploring!😀

Nature’s loose parts are a a great source of inspiration. We are constantly amazed at the level of creativity, cooperation and intrinsic motivation that arises out of our outdoor classroom!

Learn more at



When life gives you leaves……….

Make a blanket!

Our exclusively outdoor program is filled with numerous nature inspired-play activities that inspire teamwork, exploration, and imagination. By allowing a child’s creativity to flourish we foster a lifelong love for learning!

Summer Camp 2022 applications are now open. Check out our website, for more information!


Our “classroom” has no walls. 💗

Photos from Little Hikers Nature School's post 02/04/2022

What a joyous rainy day! The rain provided us with an opportunity to splash in puddles, collect & pour water, make “soups” and “hot chocolate”, and test whether natural materials sank or floated!

Photos from Little Hikers Nature School's post 02/02/2022

On one of our adventures, we came across an amazing discovery, a skull!

We speculated about which animal it may have come from based on the shape and location. Two ideas were that it belonged to either a wolf or a deer, so we took a look at the teeth and thought about what kind of teeth a wolf would need for its carnivorous diet vs. the teeth a deer would have for eating plants. Since the skull had small flat teeth, not long and sharp ones, we decided it was probably from a deer! What a hands-on way to practice our scientific thinking skills!

To learn more about our completely outdoor preschool visit our website:

Photos from Little Hikers Nature School's post 01/27/2022

When North Carolina gives us snow (& the roads are clear enough to go to school), we make footprints, snow angels, and use a snow covered log to go on “train rides”!

Learn more about our program at

Photos from Little Hikers Nature School's post 01/14/2022

Many ask, “What do you do when it’s cold?”
We bundle up and make “leaf angels”! Oh, and we have campfires too. 😊

If these kind of outdoor adventures warm your heart, check out our website ( We are currently accepting applications for Fall 2022!

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6101 Cole Mill Road
Durham, NC
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