Ferncliff Nature School

We are a preschool program for 3-6 year olds, that follows the Forest Kindergarten model, emphasizing a child’s deep connection with nature.


W.H.O. Says Limited or No Screen Time for Children Under 5

nytimes.com Infants under 1 year old should not be exposed to electronic screens, and children between the ages of 2 and 4 should not have more than one daily hour of “sedentary screen time,” the agency said Wednesday.

Hike-a-thon day 1 in the books! 39 total miles. We had a blast!!


Ferncliff Nature Preschool Hike a Thon

anython.com Our school had small beginnings as the state's first Forest Kindergarten and has now grown to serve almost 50 families around Central Arkansas!  As we have grown, we have ensured that our staff have received only the best training and have worked to provide only the best care and nature connection ...

I had the honor of sharing about our program at The Power of Play conference on the @nwacc campus today.

We found a tiger in our Forest today! They are pretty common around here, with all the clay rocks in our creek bed!

National Trust

84% of parents believe that playing outdoors makes their children more imaginative and creative, with the simple stick voted the best toy for fuelling children’s imaginative play and creativity.

Watch our exclusive rap by Game of Thrones star Raleigh Ritchie which celebrates the importance of getting outdoors, and start your #50things story with nature today.


State rep. calls for 'play-based' kindergarten standards

So glad to see a public school headed back this direction!! Play is SO important!

wmur.com A state representative from Manchester is trying to reform kindergarten standards to ensure that New Hampshire's youngest students aren't overburdened by academics.

Training for our #hikeathon!! 5,000 steps and about 20 flights of stairs. These kids can travel!

Ferncliff Camp & Conference Center

This morning our nature preschoolers presented the Over-the-Hill Gang with a thank you gift for building so many neat things for their school. It was a sweet moment made sweeter yet by knowing that Ferncliff is a place for both the young and young at heart. And who knows, this class of preschoolers may be back as Over-the-Hill Gang members in 2080 ;-)


The Paradox of Sitting Still in Preschool

notjustcute.com Sometimes, when people picture what learning looks like, they imagine perfectly quiet children in perfectly arranged rows, sitting perfectly still. Sounds perfect. But research tells us that’s not …

Risky play means learning what it feels like to be a little nervous but trying something anyway (i.e., bravery!)

Spring Beauties, one of the first signs of spring!

Happy Sugar Moon and First Day of Spring! It looks like our first spring shower is going to break just in time to view the last super moon of the year!!

Please share! Amazing opportunity for Pulaski County kids!

Registration is OPEN for our nature-based afterschool program! 🌱This is a great opportunity for K-5th graders to spend time outside, actively learning and exploring in the natural world after their school day.

Enroll for the 2019-2020 school year by May 1 and get the month of August free!
At this time we are also offering both full and partial week options, as well as van pickup from Robinson and Chenal Elementary.

For more information and how to register: https://ferncliff.org/nature-school/nature-based-afterschool-program/


Are Outdoor Preschools Changing U.S. Education? | REI Co-op Journal

rei.com A look at the rising number of outdoor preschools and kindergartens in the U.S., where programs saw a 66 percent increase between 2016 and 2017.


Study: Kids Who Spend Time in Nature Become Happier Adults

adventure-journal.com Decades-long study shows that the more time we spend outdoors as kids, the less chance we have of mental illness as adults.


By mollycoddling our children, we're fuelling mental illness in teenagers | Jonathan Haidt and Pamela Paresky

theguardian.com Exposure to normal stresses is vital for children’s future wellbeing, say academics Jonathan Haidt and Pamela Paresky

Ferncliff Camp & Conference Center

Open Enrollment begins tomorrow!! Schedule a tour to find out why Forest Kindergarten is best practice for the education of young children!

Check out this video for a little glimpse into our Nature Preschool program! Thanks to Gerard Matthews Video
for helping capture what makes this program so great.

"They're going to be the ones that take care of the Earth, so it's important to instill that in them from the very beginning..." For more information, please visit https://ferncliff.org/nature-school/nature-pre-school/



Why our kids need forests for true learning

marketwatch.com What if there were a better way to do early childhood education?

Thanks to Jay Edwards and The Daily Record for the article highlighting our program. We think every child deserves to have an amazing early childhood experience, and that nature is the perfect learning environment.

"Time for class, everyone outside." Check out this week's feature story to find out exactly what the preschoolers at Little Rock Nature Preschool learn outdoors. Ferncliff Nature School

These warmer days have encouraged a lot of fishing. Even the best anglers get hung up in trees...

Architects and Engineers of Fairy Forest Homes found here. #futurengineers #futurearchitects #forestkindergarten

We were grateful for our kettle and a hot oatmeal snack on this cold, wet, winter day!

Great Parenting Simplified

Happy Solstice! We hope you all find a way to bring in the light on the longest night of the year!

Ferncliff Nature School

's cover photo

If you look closely you will see a child working on their balance and coordination, a child swinging and giving their body vestibular input, children singing together and decorating a tree, and a few others building a bridge. These are all developmentally appropriate activities for young children and they all happen during free play in the forest!

Child led STEAM activities are abundant in a natural environment! These girls used flat rocks to crush up thin rocks they found in the creek, and came to the conclusion they were making sand.

Wilder Child

Today we caught snowflakes on our tongues, watched them fall from the sky, looked at them through a magnifying glass, and enjoyed their magic. What a beautiful and hands on way to learn about snow. #ferncliffnatureschool #forestkindergarten #snowday

I’m going to bet we were one of the few schools outside in Arkansas this morning! #nobadweatherjustbadclothing

Bonfire success!

New frontiers. #exploration #ferncliffnatureschool #forestkindergarten

Sometimes it is nice to help a friend clean off her boots, especially when you get to use a slimy water shield from the lake! A little kindness can change everything...

Happy Halloween!!!


Reading too soon…

So much good info about what is appropriate for our little ones!

theorganizedmindhq.com Reading too soon… There is a widely held belief in this country (and many others) that if we start teaching children to read, write, and spell in preschool and kindergarten that they will be ahead of the game (and their peers) by first grade. We think that pushing our kids to start early will make...


The Cost of Ignoring Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Great article about the importance of play in the early years!

notjustcute.com The previous installment of this series on DAP ended with a quote that really resonated with me. It perfectly encapsulates the ironic environment we find ourselves in today. There’s a well-…

To instill a joy of learning that will last a lifetime is one of the main goals of early years education. #forestkindergarten #lifelonglearners #ferncliffnaturepreschool

Our program has mixed age classes. It warms my heart to see one of our older kiddos teaching one of our little ones about hand tool safety! #leadershipskills #ferncliffnatureschool #forestkindergarten

We have been talking a lot about decomposers lately. Some of our kiddos have watched this stump decompose for going on their third year. What an awesome learning opportunity. #decomposers #mushrooms #beetles #rain #ferncliffnaturepreschool

Natural Start Alliance

Our program meets all of these guidelines and is licensed with the state of Arkansas. We are proud to be a part of this outdoor learning movement!

What should parents look for in an outdoor preschool? Natural Start's Director offers some ideas in this Outside Magazine article.

The Daily Parent

Thought provoking words from Wilder Child.

Bead making is just one of the ways we build fine motor skills in the forest. #americanbeautyberry #hydrangeas #wholechild #ferncliffnaturepreschool

Painting with Black Walnuts. #natureart #forestkindergarten #ferncliffnaturepreschool

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1720 Ferncliff Road
Little Rock, AR

Opening Hours

Monday 08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 08:00 - 17:00
Thursday 08:00 - 17:00
Friday 08:00 - 17:00
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