Nature Preschool

Heritage Park Nature Preschool FAQs

What is Nature Preschool?
The Heritage Park Nature Preschool provides a meaningful and immersive nature-based learning program for children ages 3-5. Children’s time is spent outdoors connecting deeply with nature, while participating in research-based curriculum focused on play and discovery. While there are similar learning objectives to a traditional preschool, your child’s experience will be far from conventional.

Is the Nature Preschool a licensed or certified childcare program?
Yes. We will have our Childcare License from the State of Michigan. Preschool Teachers will also be Forest School Certified.

What are the ages for Nature Preschool?
Children need to be at least three years old, but under the age of 6 by the first class in September.

Does my child have to be potty-trained?
Children must be self-sufficient using the restroom before classes begin in September. We understand accidents happen and do our best to support children. A change of clothes should be sent with your child each day. Circumstances may require you to come pick-up your child from class. Diapers are not allowed. If accidents become frequent, then we will meet as a team and decide if your child is ready for Nature Preschool.

How do I register?

  1. Online registration is available for Nature Preschool. In order to register online you must know your Household #/Username. If you have been in a Farmington Hills Special Services activity before, your Household Number can be located on a past receipt from our department. If you are a new user, you will need to create a Household Account. Make sure to add each member of your family and their information to your household account.
  2. Pre-enrollment secures your spot in our program and is a required non-refundable payment. Once registered, you can select your tuition payment option when it opens in June. There will be a monthly or annual option.
  3. You will need to select your preferred day (M/W/F or T/TH) and time (9AM-Noon or 1-4PM).

How much is Tuition?
Save 7% by paying the one-time annual tuition rate (Due Sept 1): M/W/F=$2,189.22 OR T/TH=$1,473.12
A monthly payment plan (without the discount) is also available. Rates vary per month based on the number of classes and the schedule you choose (see tuition and preschool calendar). These fees are based on $22/class. Monthly tuition payments are required online and are due the 1st of every month.

What happens if my tuition is late?
A $10 late fee will be added for every day a monthly tuition payment is past due. Monthly tuition payments are due the first of every month.

What is your Refund & Transfer Policy?
Please review the Special Services Refund Policy. Business Days are considered Monday-Friday.

  • ·Tuition refund requests submitted more than two weeks prior to the start of a program begin date will be issued 100% refund, LESS a $10 Administrative Fee.
  • ·Tuition refund requests submitted less than two weeks, but more than three business days prior to the start of the program will be issued a 50% refund LESS a $10 Administrative Fee.
  • ·Refund requests submitted less than three business days prior to the start of a program will not be granted and no refund will be issued.
  • ·A $10 transfer fee will be charged for each transfer five (5) business days prior to the start of preschool. Transfer requests made less than five business days before will not be granted. Transfers can only be made if there is room in the class.
  • ·The Pre-enrollment fee is non-refundable

What is the Nature Preschool Class Schedule?
The Nature Preschool class schedule is either Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday and Thursday. Families must choose ONE of those options only. Families must also choose between AM (9am-Noon) or PM (1-4pm). The Nature Preschool runs a full school year from September (after Labor Day) to early June. There may be days off for Holidays, Staff Trainings and other closures. Planned closures are already accounted for in your tuition. A school calendar is available online.
What if there is a Wait List for Preschool?
Nature Preschool classes are popular and fill quickly! If there is a wait list for a Nature Preschool, you’re encouraged to join the list online. Registering for the wait list does NOT guarantee your spot. When a spot opens you will be notified by email or phone. The first family to respond with registration payment will receive the spot. Once the wait list has been exhausted, the spot will open back up to the public.
What forms do I need to complete & submit?
A complete list will be available in the Family Handbook. The following are required:

  • Health Appraisal Form and Physical
  • Proof of Immunization (or signed waiver)
  • Copy of Birth Certificate
  • Signed Field Trip Waiver
  • ​EPACT Account Information (Emergency Contact Information, Allergy Info, Special Instructions, Approved pick-up list, etc.)

Will children or staff have to wear masks?
Currently, masks are optional for children and staff. If this policy changes a notification will be shared with parents in advance.

Will health checks be completed at drop off?
Preschool Staff will not conduct daily health checks at drop-off. Families should do their own health check before each class and keep children home if they have experienced any of the following:

  1. Has your child had a fever (temperature over 100.4) in the last 24 hours?
  2. Does your child have any of the following symptoms?
    • Cough (excluding chronic cough tied to a known medical reason other than COVID-19); or
    • Shortness of breath; or
    • At least two of the following symptoms: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell and/or diarrhea (excluding diarrhea due to a known medical condition), and extreme fatigue.
  3. Has your child had close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 10 days?

If your child begins to experience any symptoms during the day, you will be notified and asked to pick them up within 30 minutes of our call. The child and other members of the household participating are to remain home until confirmation of diagnosis can be made. Your child should also be 24 hours fever free without the use of medication to return to class.

What will drop-off and pick-up look like?
Most days, child drop-off and pick-up will be OUTSIDE at the Nature Center. There may be days where our adventures take us to other areas of the park for pick-up or drop off. You will be notified of these changes in advance.
Will Snacks be provided?
Parents are responsible for sending their child with a healthy, nut-free snack and drink. Children should also bring a refillable water bottle. Please make sure their items are labeled with their name. In an emergency or on occasion, the Nature Preschool has snacks available. A family member will be notified before food is given to the child. Snacks will not be provided on a regular basis.

How are you encouraging children and staff to have healthy hygiene?
Each class will be given instructions on what healthy hygiene looks like. Reminders include…

  • Wash their hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer throughout the day, before snack and after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Sneeze or cough in the crease of their elbow.
  • Avoid touching their face, especially their eyes, nose and mouth.
  • ​If we eat our snack inside, staff are required to clean and sanitize tables before and after snack.

Will the Teachers be certified? Who are the Teachers?
Our Preschool Director and Lead Teacher are certified teachers. The Preschool Director and Lead Teacher will also be Forest School Certified. The Assistant Teachers are trained in Early Childhood and Environmental Education.
On occasion, experienced and approved volunteers and/or Nature Center Staff may assist with the program.
Our Preschool Director is Valerie Larsen. She currently runs the Little Trekkers program. She has 31 years of teaching experience and is a certified teacher. We will be interviewing soon for the Lead Teacher position. More information about our future staff members will be provided to families before classes begin.
What curriculum will you be using?
We are currently finalizing our research-based Nature Preschool curriculum. Detailed information regarding curriculum and behavior management will be available in the Family Handbook.
What if my child has disabilities, allergies or special instructions?
We welcome all children (ages 3-5) into our program. Please communicate any special instructions regarding your child with the Preschool Director or Lead Teacher.
While we cannot guarantee that our facility is 100% nut-free, we discourage families from sending snacks containing nuts.
We will do everything possible to accommodate & include children with disabilities. If a documented disability requires additional/outside assistance, we will work with parents to request these services.
Are there scholarships available?
Currently we do not offer scholarships. We hope to offer them in the future as our program grows.
What is the Daily Schedule or Routine?
An example of the daily schedule will be provided in the Family Handbook available in June. Communication about our nature experiences will be shared weekly with parents via email.
Will students be outside year-round?
YES! We will be spending class time OUTDOORS, experiencing meaningful and research-based curriculum while we connect with & explore the natural world. If severe weather occurs, class activities will be moved into our licensed classroom at the Nature Center. Children should come prepared for the weather every day. A packing and preparedness list will be provided in the Family Handbook available in June.
Will there be a family informational meeting or open house before classes begin?
Yes, a family playdate and informational meeting to meet our Staff and your fellow preschool families will be scheduled in August. If you would like to meet with the Preschool Director or Lead Teacher before classes begin, please request an appointment by calling the Nature Center (248) 473-1870. We will do our best to accommodate your request.

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