Sunday, August 4, 2013

Schoolhouse of Wonder-Preschool Explorers

I'd been hearing about Schoolhouse of Wonder for a while.   I heard it gave some great opportunities for school age kids to get out and explore nature through camps, field trips, etc, but I hadn't investigated  them too much because I knew their programs were only for school age kids.  Then, in a happy coincidence, I happened to be exploring West Point on the Eno and their new Natural Play Area with fellow Stir Crazy Mom Abby and founder of SoDu Parents' Posse Kat Benson.  We were about to leave when we came across Wendy and Eli from the Schoolhouse of Wonder.  We got to talking, and they said they were interested in expanding their program for preschoolers.  So, Kat and I met up with them, talked, and gave them some ideas.  We're so excited to see the program actually become a reality.  Now, the fun of Schoolhouse of Wonder can be enjoyed by younger kids!

What it is:  So, the first Preschool Explorers program was last week.  We signed up online, received an e-mail a few days before handing giving us details about where to meet, etc., and then met at West Point on the Eno at 10 last Thursday morning.  There were about 12 kids between the ages of 3-5 with their parents.  Grant and Eli from Schoolhouse of Wonder were there to meet us.  From there we headed off to explore.

We sat down and looked at some artifacts from the woods, then we went out to explore and see what we could find.  Grant and Eli were so knowledgeable about the woods, and they knew where to find all the interesting features.  We found grubs, slugs, and termites under logs.  We discovered worms and red toads and on the ground.  They showed us two edible plants in the forest and a few others we should stay away from.  At the end of our adventure, we settled in for a story told by a wonderful storyteller that kept the kids focused and laughing and then a lovely song on the banjo to finish it all off.  A great time was had by all!  (Oh, and did I mention, we get to wade in the water on a creek crawl for the next Preschool Explorers!?)

What we liked:  First of all, it was a great time!  It was nice to explore the forest with people who were so knowledgeable and could show us so many interesting things and present them in ways that were interesting to the little ones.  For the parents, Schoolhouse of Wonder's organization is definitely helpful.  It was nice to know just where to meet and what to bring and have people waiting for us when we got there.  I've definitely been to morning playgroups where we were confused and searching for where to go, and it was a relief to feel so well taken care of.

What we would change:  The registration process online was a bit longer than I was expecting, but that's not necessarily a bad thing because they have all of our information on file just in case they need it.  For those of us in South Durham, West Point on the Eno is a bit of a trek, but well worth it.

Website and other important information:


Address: 5101-B North Roxboro Rd, Durham, NC 27704

Next Preschool Explorer Date: August 13, 10:00-11:30 (They will put more on the schedule for this fall.)

Cost: $6 per child (Parent must accompany child)


(Eli shows us a leaf shaped like a cat's face.)

(The group studies some "ant lions".  I had never heard of them before.)

(Turning over a log is a great way to find interesting treasures.)

(The red toad that came to visit us)

(Grant plays the banjo to close out a lovely morning.)

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