Brooklyn Nature Days - Sarah Carlson
Review from the Spring 2022 Early Childhood Education SurveyLocation: Park Slope Type of facility: Preschool Review: Outdoor all weather forest school in Prospect Park. Our daughter just loved it! She made great friends, adored her teachers, and learned so much about nature, our park, animals, etc. She had a lot of *fun* - loved reading books, snack time, playing with mud and chalk, etc. In an entire year there was just one weather cancellation (!) so more reliable than you expect with an all year all weather program. Only downside is they don't invest in or facilitate community among families or parents. What amenities does the facility have? All outdoor in Prospect Park, no indoor facilithy What would you change about the program, if anything? More effort in building community among parents and families Is there anything you would like to add about how the school is handling the pandemic? They have been very cautious strictly following the city and state rules which included masks outdoors for everyone all year.
Review from the Spring 2022 Early Childhood Education SurveyLocation: Prospect Park Type of facility: Daycare, Preschool, Forest School with child led learning Review: I love Brooklyn Nature days. It has given my kid a lot of confidence and a love for nature and being outside. She's very hardy and we've learned theres no bad weather only improper clothing. Its great that even growing up in a city kids can get covered in mud and have fun with worms and finding Bird nests. The program is wonderfully communicative and the teachers are wonderful. They love what they do and you can feel it. Highly recommend this program. What amenities does the facility have? Has outdoor space What would you change about the program, if anything? Perhaps adding in some more activities now and then? Is there anything you would like to add about how the school is handling the pandemic? they are doing a great job of keeping everyone safe.
Review from the Spring 2022 Early Childhood Education SurveyLocation: Prospect Park Type of facility: Preschool Review: The program is really lovely, it's all in prospect park, they have no building and the kids just explore nature all day. Our child loves being outside so to have daily designated outdoors time was great. He was really into playgrounds before doing this program and now he just loves exploring the park, being in nature, picking up sticks, playing in the mud. It was really age appropriate for him and he enjoyed it the whole year. He never came home complaining about being cold or warm or wet. He always had a good time. They teachers are supportive and so kind and supportive. It's a wonderful community. What amenities does the facility have? Has outdoor space What would you change about the program, if anything? Nothing Is there anything you would like to add about how the school is handling the pandemic? They were very good about the pandemic, it's an all outdoor program but they still followed the guidance, kids wore masks when it was appropriate and we never brought covid home!
Review from the Fall 2021 Early Childhood Education SurveyType of facility: Nature School Review: Terrific program. It is not 100% child-led, as advertised, but as close to it as a program it likely to get. A great fit for families who are of the "slow parenting" mentality. We are really excited about how much resilience our child is building by being outdoors in all sorts of weather and are happily reaping the benefits of that when we go hiking together with the kiddo. Yes, I would send my child there again. What amenities does the facility provide? Has outdoor space, The program is fully outdoors What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? I had hoped that, as the semester wore on, the kids would venture a bit farther into the park, as well as visit a bigger variety of locations. Instead, it seems that BND partitions the park so that programs that meet in different corners of the park mostly stick to one (largeish) area without those areas (seemingly?) overlapping much, if at all. Is there anything you would like to add about how the school handled the pandemic? I selected the program for my child partly because, as an outdoor program, it seems safer during COVID. If I'm disappointed and confused by something, it's by BND's continual insistence on having 2-4-year-olds wear masks outdoors. I am hoping that once the kids are vaccinated, that requirement goes away, but there's been no communication about that.
Review from the 2021 Summer Camp SurveyName of camp: Brooklyn nature days Location: Prospect park How old was your child when they attended camp this summer? 5 Review: Half day program in the park, all outdoors, great opportunity for the kids to get dirty and be kids. The teachers were energetic and experienced. Child loved going on hikes in the park. What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? Program was great, wouldn’t change anything. Would you like to add anything related to COVID and how the camp handled it? Strict mask wearing and covid question are followed even though exclusively outdoor program. Needed to wear masks at pick up even if vaccinated. All were supportive.
Review from the 2021 Summer Camp SurveyName of camp: Brooklyn Nature Days Location: Grand Army Plaza How old was your child when they attended camp this summer? 4 Review: Child comes home saying they had a good day at camp! Has learned to really enjoy play/exploration time in a nature based environment. Did not like the very hot days, understandable as it's 100% outdoors. The counselors have been great. Very kind and encouraging with the kids. What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? Only thing I would add is, with the wearing of masks, it seems a bit harder for some of the kids (Robins, age PreK and K) to make peer connections and to understand each other in conversation. I would suggest a bit more intention on social and connection-forming activities, if mask wearing is still "a thing" next year in Summer 2022. Would you like to add anything related to COVID and how the camp handled it? Camp handled it well, in my opinion. Did not require testing or temperature checks, just asked us Covid screening questions at dropoff, but I was OK enough with this because it's an all-outdoors program with masks.
Welcome to the NEW 2018 Kids Group!O. has been going to Brooklyn Nature Days M/W/F mornings at Grand Army Plaza. We all have loved the program and his teachers are so warm and very communicative. o. seems fine with the various layers of clothing (more to be added soon) and loves the opportunity to get covered in mud. He brought home 226 acorns last week!
Review from the 2020 Summer Camp SurveyAge of child: 2 1/2 Comment: BND teachers are warm, playful and nurturing. My son loved going every day and grew as a person. This is also his school year school. Anything related to COVID and how the camp handled it you'd like to add? The teachers were positive m, community - oriented and gentle with their COVID policies with kids.
Review from the 2020 Summer Camp SurveyAge of child: 4 Comment: Camp met exclusively in Prospect Park. It's such a wonderful camp! My daughter loved using natural materials to play with: sticks became drumsticks, big branches were brooms, logs were rocketships. They hiked through the park to a few different locations and really explored. The teachers are wonderful, very loving and nuturing and playful Anything related to COVID and how the camp handled it you'd like to add? The staff all wore masks and kids were encouraged to, but not required as some were pretty young (2/3). They took temperatures every day and didn't share materials.
Review from the 2020 Summer Camp SurveyAge of child: 4 Comment: Outdoor rain or shine. Charlie loves it and did it year round in fact. They supply a rain gear outfit. Outside of a compact bucket the only toys and props are from nature (they also do story time with books). The teachers are great. Perfect for kids who like to run around and go wild with sticks, climbing, etc. was well suited to Covid safety precautions. What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? Anything related to COVID and how the camp handled it you'd like to add? The camp is naturally suited to Covid precautions. We just had to bring our own mat and snacks and lunch. Kids ate at a distance from each other, and teachers plus most kids wore masks at all other times. Worked very well.
Review from the 2020 Summer Camp SurveyAge of child: 5 Comment: This is a great camp! My son just finished his third summer with BND, and he always comes home with every visible part of his body covered with dirt! He collects dirt and worms and rocks and makes things with twigs and yarn. He enjoys himself a lot. They send you pictures throughout the day of what your kid is up to, and I love the outdoors-in-the-summer aspect. The teachers are very caring and kind, too. What would you change about the program, if anything, and why? Default pick-up is at 1; you can pay for an extended day until 4. I'd kind of like something in the middle of those two, but eh, nothing's perfect! Anything related to COVID and how the camp handled it you'd like to add? Just that because they're masked and outside all day, I think it's as low-risk as it can possibly be.
2019-2020 Year ReviewReview: Brooklyn Nature Days has been a really wonderful experience for our son. In addition to the obvious (spending time outside, no matter the weather!), we’ve been blown away by the attentiveness, care, and thoughtfulness of the teachers. They really pay attention to your individual child and encourage him or her to explore their interests and build confidence in themselves. Our two-year-old has transformed from a timid kiddo into a confident outdoor explorer and loves going on hikes, pointing out the birds and the small details he observes in nature. … About the facility: Has outdoor space …
2019-2020 Year ReviewReview: The best thing about it is that I know that on the days she is at BND she is getting hours of fresh air and exercise and learning to love nature. The teachers are all fantastic, very communicative with parents and sensitive to each child's needs. In addition the social-emotional learning aspect is strong. They work with the kids to help them resolve disputes and learn how to respect each other's bodies/space. The thing I like least is bundling her up in a gazillion winter layers every morning. It was definitely a battle getting her to wear the right gear at first. … About the facility: Has outdoor space …
2019-2020 Year ReviewReview: Prospect Park is the classroom! While I appreciate that this setting is not for everyone, I LOVE how what I consider bad weather doesn't stop my kid from being outside. Because we know how to dress for any kind of weather and she's had fun in all weather, we just gear up and get outside most days. The program is a lot of nature exploring with some gentle flow/guidance from the teachers. They start each day reading on a tarp, then walk into the park, sing the good morning songs, explore, maybe have a guided activity and/or an optional hike, snack, good bye song, pick up, etc. So the days are predictable and comforting to the kids, but very child led and loosey goosey structure. They also have music classes, yoga, art and bird watching, depending on the day and location. Also, I have to say that I LOVE how attuned the teachers are to teaching the kids to advocate for their personal space, for articulating their needs and for infusing kindness into everything. They books that they choose are often nature themed, but intentionally diverse. … About the facility: Has outdoor space, Has afterschool options … What would you change? I do wish there was eariler drop off! 9am is tough and is the only reason we do one day a week vs 3 or 4
After school programs at PS 321 M-F until 6pmIf your kids like nature, my kid goes to Brooklyn Nature Days with extended hours till 6pm. They run the whole year, and my child loved it last year. In any case of extremely bad weather, they usually stay inside the school and have some activities.https://brooklynnaturedays.com/afterschool-2019-2020
2019 Summer Camp ReviewMy child loved being outdoors and exploring, getting dirty and playing with all sorts of natural elements like water, mud, dirt, leaves, etc. He endured a week of rainy weather and a week of really hot weather. The teachers were great - very nurturing and available to answer questions. Overall a great program. My child loved it and the program seems to be well organized. What would you change? If they could share more information about what the kids learn and/or do during the day, that would be helpful. It wasn't clear there was an agenda or themes.
2019 Summer Camp ReviewThey’re in the park all the time. Exploring,singing,playing with water,mud...
2019 Summer Camp ReviewWonderful camp where the kids explore everything prospect park has to offer. Let’s kids enjoy the summer the way I used to growing up in the burbs. My daughter was indifferent going to school/staying inside all day, despite really liking her class/teachers. However with camp, she is SO EXCITED to leave and so happy when she’s done every day. The teachers are wonderful as well!
2019 Summer Camp ReviewAge: 2 Review: My son goes to their early childhood program during the school year and has now gone to 3 different locations of Brooklyn Nature Days for the summer. The summer program is split up by age groups as it's open to school aged children as well. The teachers are all wonderful (we've met about 15 of them at this point), caring, and attentive. My son comes back dirty and happy from exploring the park all morning every time! It's hard to find a 2's summer camp so this is a great option especially with their multiple drop off/pick up locations. We can't recommend BND enough!! What would you change? Nothing
Brooklyn Nature Days fall '19Our older son has been at BND for the last two years and our 16 month old will be there in the fall. It’s a wonderful program!
Forest SchoolWe love Brooklyn Nature Days. My child has been going since she was 20 months.
Forest SchoolWe have been with Brooklyn Nature Days for the past year and I can’t say enough good things about the program. We’ve been really happy with it.
2018 Summer Camp ReviewsAge of child: 4 turning 5 Summer 2018 Review: I loved knowing that my son was outside all day. He had great teachers/counselors. There was good communication with parents. Overall highly recommend if you want your child outside all day exploring.
Review from the 2017/2018 PSP Daycare, Preschool, PreK, Kindergarten SurveyBND is an alternative to “regular” preschool, it’s a school held in the park. Kids range in age from 2-4 and they are allowed free/unstructured play with the most loving teachers. Our son has thrived in their care; shows so much appreciation for nature and open space. Cold weather days and rainy days we thought would be rough, but he has never complained or not wanted to go to school (snowy days are hard to get him back home). We whole heartedly recommend BND for your child, it’s been such an amazing experience we are sending our son back next year instead of UPK. We also plan to send our daughter there when she turns two. About the facility: Has outdoor space, Has afterschool options.
Review from the 2017 PSP Summer Camp SurveyThe camp was great. It is really outdoors -- every day no matter what the weather. I was worried about that at first, but my son loved rainy days (with proper gear) and adored his counselors. Some days, he came home looking like he'd just done a mud run. He constantly asks if he can go back again next year. Just perfect for his age. Age of child: 5 Based on a Summer 2017 experience
Review from the 2017 PSP Summer Camp SurveyWe have done two summers with BND as well as vacation days and the preschool alternative. My kids have always come home really happy with a lot of stories of what they did and learned. They also seem to like the teachers/counselors. Age of child: 4.5yrs Based on a Summer 2017 experience
Review from the 2016/2017 PSP Daycare, Preschool, PreK, Kindergarten SurveyAbout the facility: Has outdoor space, Has afterschool options, Provides snacks Review: My 2-year-old started Brooklyn Nature Days classes during a time of especially intense separation anxiety, which was stressful for me as a first-time parent to a toddler. Although the tearful morning goodbyes seemed to go on forever, the warm, caring attention of the teachers made me feel much more confident about leaving my son. Someone was always available to hold him while I departed, and within the first week he came home from class singing the songs that his teachers would sing to help comfort him. Nature Days classes have a particularly small ratio of teachers to students - 1 teacher to every 3 or 4 children - and I felt that the extra adult attention was a great benefit to him during his difficult weeks of transition. Almost a year later, it is wonderful to see my son thriving in his Nature Days classes. Coming from my former home in the outdoorsy northwest to urban NYC, I was delighted to find a program that embraced time spent outdoors, in all seasons and weather. With Prospect Park as their classroom, the kids have constant opportunities to be active and play with leaves, sticks, logs, dirt, and other natural materials, which are the memories I cherish most from my own early childhood. My son particularly enjoys his frequent access to art supplies (he often comes home coated from head to toe in chalk, dirt, and paint!) and the program's periodic music classes, which alternate with activities like cooking and yoga as a supplement to the children's play and nature exploration. I would highly recommend Brooklyn Nature Days to other parents seeking more active, outdoor time for their child than other preschool programs allow.
Summer Camp Survey 2016Age of child: 3 Review: My son attended Brooklyn Nature Days camp during the summer of 2016. I would recommend the camp to anyone who wants their kid to spend more time outside. My son came home each day happy, carefree, tired, and incredibly dirty! One great thing is how flexible the scheduling is. You can choose which days and weeks you would like your kid to attend the camp - great for families who may have lots of summer travel plans. The downside to this flexibility, however, is that the kids enrolled in the camp change from day to day and week to week. Sometimes my son came home and told us that he didn't play with any other kids and didn't know anyone's name, but on other days he would make a great connection with a kid and happily report that he got to play with a new friend. Our main objective was to have our child to spend time outside while the weather was nice and he really enjoyed that and he looked forward to going to Brooklyn Nature Days each day. What would you change about the program, if anything? The teachers overall were great, but they could do a better job getting the kids comfortable with each other - helping them learn each others' names or creating a buddy system each day.
Summer Camp Survey 2016Age of child: 3 1/2 Review: My daughter LOVES Brooklyn Nature Days. They spend all day in the park getting nice and dirty - exploring, playing, growing together. She comes home both excited to share her day and tired, a happy combination for a kid in summer. We are very grateful that Brooklyn Nature Days was an option for us this summer in particular, because they offer early summer weeks as well as late summer weeks, when many of the other camps have already stopped or not yet started. Thanks to Sarah for a wonderful experience! We will definitely be back for mini camps and other summers. What would you change about the program, if anything? I wish the drop off were 15-30 minutes earlier. 9 am is really hard for working parents.
Summer Camp Survey 2016Age of child: 3.75yrs Review: Fantastic! My twins love going and seem to like all of the teachers. Drop off locations were convenient, and flexibility of schedule was important for us. What would you change about the program, if anything? Nothing
Iso: nature camp/walks in prospect parkSeconded for Brooklyn Nature Days! Sarah is amazing.
ISO 2 or 3 day summer camp program for 5'sI can vouch for Brooklyn Nature Days run by Sarah Carlson, an excellent teacher. My son will be going all summer and both of us are happy because It takes place OUTDOORS in Prospect Park. In my opinion, there's nothing better than that for the kids. PM me if you can't find the website (don't have it on hand right now, on subway).
Review Submitted via Fall 2015 Daycare/Preschool SurveyPROGRAM: Prospect Park TIME: Part Day 1 day a week AGE: 3-4 years REVIEW: For two months, my 3.5 year old daughter attended Brooklyn Nature Days in Prospect Park. BND is a forest school where children learn while exploring nature. Sarah Carlson, the teacher and founder, is absolutely wonderful and helped the kids take advantage of everything the park has to offer. She worked with our schedule and was incredibly flexible. This was my daughter's first drop off program in Brooklyn and she never looked back. Every class they read stories, made art -- often using leaves/acorns/twigs and other things they found themselves, made a snack together, and explored. She really had an amazing time! Had we not been leaving the country, I would have signed her up for the rest of the year and I hope to use the program as an alternative to a more traditional PreK next year! WOULD YOU RECOMMEND? (Hi/Rec/DoNot) Highly recommend WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? Absolutely
Shout Out for Brooklyn Nature Days!I will second the praise for Sarah and Brooklyn Nature Days. We couldn't swing the scheduling after school this fall, but my son spent many happy hours in Brooklyn Nature Days camp this summer, and I hope and expect for him to return next year. I recommended it to a friend who sent her kids and was happy as well. We knew Sarah originally from when she was my son's playgroup teacher a few years back, which was a wonderful experience. She is (and her assistants are) just lovely with the kids, creative, way more tolerant of mess than me, and they encourage tons of exploration and imaginative play.
Shout Out for Brooklyn Nature Days!For the past two months, my 3.5 year-old daughter has been attending Brooklyn Nature Days in Prospect Park. We moved out of the country in February and were back visiting for the past two months. Sara, the teacher and owner of Brooklyn Nature Days was incredibly accommodating, allowing my daughter to attend for the weeks we were in Brooklyn. It was a fantastic experience and definitely one of the highlights of my daughter's time in Brooklyn. And one of the reasons we were so sad to leave. My daughter can't stop talking about forest school, Sara, and all of her friends. The classes met a few times a week and there are different programs for different ages. My daughter was in the 2.5 to 5-year-old class. But there's a class for younger children on Fridays and some after school programs for older children. I'd drop of my very clean, presentable daughter at 9am and pick her up at 12pm -- covered in dirt, with her pockets full of acorns and leaves, talking about vultures, snakes, and the Gruffalo. What's better than that? Her mornings consisted of playing in the park, arts and crafts, story time, and more, but if you ask her what she did, she'll happily tell you that she just "played." It's been a week since her last class and she's still talking about learning to climb trees and all the fun she had in forest school! I can't imagine any better "school" for a 3-year-old and strongly encourage people to check it out!
Review from 2015 Summer Camp SurveyAge of Child: 4 Likes: Sarah Carlson, the founder and head teacher, is a lovely, competent and experienced teacher who has a wonderful way with all types of kids. She encourages exploration and play in a relaxed, enjoyable way, and my son came home happy, tired, and in need of a bath (signs of a good day in the park!). Sarah offered parents choice in terms of choosing what days and weeks a child would attend, and was very flexible and accommodating. The primary camp was 9-1, but Sarah also offered an extended day to 4 PM. What would you change? N/A. I was really happy with the program and my son's experience this summer. Would you send your child(ren) again? Yes Do you recommend? Highly recommend Do you have any other information to add? In the spirit of full disclosure, this is not my family's first experience with Sarah; she was also my son's playgroup teacher two years ago, so we already knew Sarah, trusted her, and knew it would be a great summer. And it was.
Re: [CP] Brooklyn Nature Days-Fall Forest SchoolMy son was in a playgroup with Sarah when he was two and it was the most wonderful experience. She is one of the most gentle, engaged and caring people I have met and she is magic with the kids. I would recommend any program she runs - please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.
responses: drop-in summer campMy 4 year old son will be attending camp mostly in the park with his playgroup teacher from last year, Sarah Carlson, who is lovely with the kids, trustworthy, and generally all around terrific. The set-up is not exactly drop-in, but you can sign up for as little as 2 days within a week, and whatever weeks you like, as far as I understand. (And honestly, I would get in touch if you are interested and see, there might be some flexibility at this point as the summer gets closer if there is space available.)
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