Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Cross Timbers Forest Preschool Wins Texas Recreation & Park Society North Region Excellence in Programming Award

A few weeks into the Fall Semester, Cross Timbers Forest Preschool won the Texas Recreation & Park Society North Region Excellence in Programming Award!

Cross Timbers Forest Preschool is an explorative, hands-on preschool experience focused on connecting students to nature. Hosted at the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve, the curriculum highlights our local ecosystem and includes hikes, storytime, arts and crafts, imaginative play, and discovery. Forest Preschool allows students to build knowledge of the world around them, develop confidence and self-esteem while inspiring connections with nature. With two 15-week semesters in the fall and spring, students spend more than 80% of their day outside learning through exploration. Cross Timbers Forest Preschool is a community-favorite program that maximizes 700 plus acres of preserve to instill an appreciation for nature and a sense of stewardship in our youngest community members.

Forest Preschool staff is honored to receive this award, especially after working so hard to make Forest Preschool the premier preschool experience in DFW. When we first started operations in 2019, we only held classes three days a week and had about 11 students. Since then, we have added an extra day and have increased our student roster times three! In the last three years, Forest Preschool has become a favorite community recreational program. We often see multiple generations of siblings go through Forest Preschool, and watch our kiddos move to Nature Camp after aging out of preschool. Our classes are consistently full, and the growth we witness in our students fuels us to continue making this the best preschool program around. Our curriculum is unique due to unparalleled access to nature. The skills our students gain prepare them for success in kindergarten and beyond!

“I’m so thrilled about winning this award! My staff and I work hard to make Forest Preschool a world-class program that is safe, fun, and educational. We take a tremendous amount of pride in our work and being recognized for it feels wonderful! We are honored to accept the award and can’t wait to continue growing Forest Preschool!” Hannah Nyquist, Programs Coordinator.

Congratulations to all Cross Timbers Forest Preschool staff for your world-class work! The TRAPS North Region Excellence in Programming Award (Class II) will be presented to the City of Southlake Community Services team on Friday, November 5, 2021, at the TRAPS North Region Conference in Allen.

Forest Preschool is Back for Fall: Meet the Teacher

Summer vacation came and went at the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve. Older kids are back at school, but preschool kiddos have something of their own to look forward to– Cross Timbers Forest Preschool!

The Cross Timbers Forest Preschool is an explorative, hands-on preschool experience focusing on connecting students to nature. The curriculum is like none other thanks to our unique location on over 700 acres of preserve. Inquisitive preschoolers spend over 80% of every day outside learning through exploration. This includes hikes, storytime, arts and crafts, imaginative play, and discovery. Each day is different, and themes range from the local history of the land, local critters, responsible environmental stewardship, butterflies, and more!

Forest Preschool is unique in many ways. We have outstanding teachers and an impressive 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio! This semester our fearless teacher is none other than Nature Center extraordinaire Madeleine Mott.

Madeleine embodies the spirit of the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve. Adventurous, curious, and kind, Madeleine Mott knows what it’s like to wear many hats. Coming off a successful summer as Camp Director, Madeleine now gets to shift gears into preschool mode.

Here’s what she had to say about this upcoming semester:

What are you most excited about this semester?
I am so excited to get to know all our awesome preschoolers. Each of these kids has such individualized traits and qualities that are so easy to love! Not to mention we can add to our long list of all the funny and quirky things Forest Preschoolers say!

What’s your favorite animal?
My favorite animal would have to be giraffes, but at the Nature Center, I love the deer, specifically the fawns.

What do you hope your students take away from this experience?
I hope my students take away from this semester of preschool an overall love and respect for nature. I want them to go out into the woods confidently and leave exhilarated by the energy these natural places give. I want them to explore without boundaries and fall in love with what they find.

Anything else you want to share about Forest Preschool?
Forest Preschool is truly the best. It provides such a unique experience for these little ones. It will encourage confidence and independence, their social skills will grow, and their knowledge of the world around them will flourish.

The Cross Timbers Forest Preschool meets from 9 am-12 pm for 15 weeks each semester. Classes are offered Tuesday-Friday, and registration is per day of the week. The fall semester begins on August 24 and ends on December 10.

Learn more here.

Cross Timbers Forest Preschool Open House

Did you know Southlake has a nature preschool at Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve? Come learn all about it on January 10!

If your little one loves playing outside and learning about nature, then Cross Timbers Forest Preschool is the perfect place for them!  From discovering new plants and animals, to going on nature hikes and learning all about the Cross Timbers ecosystem, your student will spend over 80% of their day outside. Our curriculum is designed to encourage hands-on exploration of our local ecosystem through hikes, storytime, arts and crafts, imaginative play and discovery. Forest Preschool allows students to build their knowledge of the world around them and develop confidence and self-esteem while inspiring connections with nature.

We would love the opportunity to meet you and your student at our Cross Timbers Forest Preschool Open House at Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve. The Open House is a chance to meet our teachers, view the curriculum, and explore with us on one of our favorite trails. Please RSVP for the Open House here.

Date: January 10
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Location: Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve, 355 E Bob Jones Rd.
RSVP here.