Nature-Based Pre-K and K School Year Enrichment      

SmallSz Boys w Scope

The Young Explorers Enrichment Program is an extension of our pre-K and K summer camp program, designed to supplement your child’s regular pre-school or classroom learning through nature-based experiences. 

Our focus is on learning  through  play, exploration, and hands-on experiences using nature as the classroom; children are outside for the duration of each program day, and the environment is our teacher.  The journey of each individual is unique, and activities and curriculum are based on the interests and curiosities of participants.

The Young Explorers Enrichment Program is open to youth ages 3.5 through those currently enrolled in Kindergarten as of the session start date. All participants must be toilet trained.  Each session lasts six weeks, and participants meet Tuesday and Thursday afternoons during that session (a total of 12 dates).  Most program dates will take place at the River Center (11605 Old Friant Rd, Fresno). The River Center features a restored ranch house with educational exhibits, a ¾ mile habitat themed nature trail, event barn, small vineyard and orchard, and plenty of open/green space to explore and play in.  Some field trip days to other Parkway properties nearby may be included in the session; participants will receive full information on the session schedule prior to the start date. 

Parents/guardians or a family representative are asked to volunteer at/attend one of the 12 session dates with their child, and are welcome (but not required) to stay with their Young Explorer during all other program dates. 

Ages: 3.5 through currently enrolled in Kindergarten as of the session start date (must be toilet trained)

Time: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays for six weeks

Cost: $450/six-week session ($50 non-refundable deposit, $400 session fees); partial scholarships are available and scholarship applications can be accessed through the online registration system during the normal registration process 

Upcoming Sessions:

Session 1 (Meets on 1/25, 1/27, 2/1, 2/3, 2/8, 2/10, 2/15, 2/17, 2/22, 2/24, 3/1, 3/3)

Session 2 (Meets on 3/22, 3/24, 3/29, 3/31, 4/5, 4/7, 4/19, 4/21, 4/26, 4/28, 5/3, 5/5) Sessions do not meet the week of Spring Break (4/11-4/15).

To register, click on the name of the session your would like your child to attend above.  If the session is full, you will be given the option to join the waitlist.  Please note: in Spring 2022, children will only be eligible to register for one of the offered sessions. 

Program Highlights:

  • Children are outdoors for the duration of each session (unless there is severe or dangerous inclement weather); once enrolled, we will provide a list of recommended clothing items to best prepare your child for all seasons and conditions; we will provide a waterproof rain trail suit for each participant to wear on rainy days, but participants are required to provide their own rain boots
  • Small group size (2 co-instructors and 12 children, 1:6 ratio)
  • Curriculum and activities are STEM, emergent play and inquiry based to promote inner-directed learning and foster a healthy sense of self
  • Young Explorers staff collects a portfolio of each participant’s project-based exploration work (writings, drawings, photographs) etc. to document each child’s journey and provide parents/guardians information on progress and achievements

Young Explorers Enrichment Program Staff:

Lauren Black - Young Explorers Director, Lead Instructor

Shirley Ly - Co-Instructor

Sample Daily Schedule:

12:45 – 1:00 pm: Check in

1:00 – 1:30 pm: Free play with thematic stations related to the week’s theme (e.g. bugs, birds, sounds, colors, etc.)

1:30 – 1:50 pm: Circle time & story time

1:50 – 2:10 pm: Bathroom break & snack time

2:10 – 2:50 pm: Guided activities (such as nature walks, item collection, sorting skills, etc.)

2:50 – 3:05 pm: Bathroom break & snack time

3:05 – 3:50 pm: Project-based exploration*

3:50 – 4:00 pm: Closing circle & song

4:00 – 4:15 pm: Pick up

 *Projects will be a collection of information and creations done by small groups and individuals focused on a specific subject.  Participant interests guide project topics and staff help participants record questions, determine what they are most curious about, and engage in research, explorations, and crafts based on these interests.  Examples of work included in a project-based exploration portfolio focused on burrowing animals might include a collage of pictures of animals who build homes underground, a science experiment testing how sound moves through various objects, a map of holes found on site, a clay model of a tunnel system by a specific animal, etc.

Cancellations/Registration:

Full refunds will be provided for cancellations made at least 14 days prior to the session start date.  No refunds will be given for absences or no-shows.