Story Tree Playgroup

An Alternative Preschool Program at Willow Nest

A small group of children currently attend Story Tree Playgroup 2-4 mornings a week. The group meets in Willow Nest's beautiful space, with an array of wonderfully open-ended materials and sensory exploration centers. Here they are encouraged to dream and imagine new possibilities, creating stories, songs and worlds big and small. With a strong focus on nature, we take full advantage of the park grove of trees across the street. Our playgroup visits this glorious outdoor space every day unless it pours down rain. The program integrates elements of visual arts, music, creative movement, dramatic story play, puppetry, light and shadow theater, nature and science exploration, sensory play and story-telling. We foster experiential learning through imaginative play, facilitating meaning making and invention. 

Program Details

  • For children ages 2.5 to 4.5 years old. Children registering for the fall semester must be between the ages of 2.5 and 3.5 by September 2017.

  • Located in Windsor Terrace, and accessible to Park Slope and Kensington, Brooklyn. Located one block from Prospect Park, which we utilize every day that weather permits us.

  • Perfect for families looking for 3-4 half days (mornings) of preschool Social Play in a small, focused group, led by caring, trained educators.

  • Classes begin at 9:30 and finish at 12:30 or 1:30.

Daily Schedule

We go to the park across the street every single day, where the children delight in playing in the ever changing grove of trees. The space is usually populated by only us. What a gem it is! We meet in the backyard and head over immediately at drop off. If it is warm enough, we plan to stay longer because we also bring things with us! We usually eat our snack during stories and morning meeting as soon as we get there. It is not uncommon for the activities to be so rich and joyful that we remain in the park until 11:15 and sometimes later. 

9:30  Meet up in the backyard and walk over to park.
9:50  Morning Circle, greeting, music, conversations and reflections, story, daily plan, snack.
10:00 Free play: Games, dramatic play, Explorations with loose parts, Explorations with art materials 
10:45  Get packed and ready to go play in the studio.
11:00 Active Indoor Play/music/movement stories/finishing projects/story time
12:15  Clean up, Circle Meeting, Goodbye song and get ready to go for first group
12:30 Wash hands, lunch for long day group & short day Group Dismissal
12:40 Story time and Lunch
1:00   Quiet, restful play and finishing up projects of choice
1:20  Get ready to go, goodbye circle and song, recap and plan for next time
1:30  Long day group dismissal

Daily Schedule in Inclement Weather

If it is pouring down with rain or snowing heavily, and especially if any children are not dressed appropriately, we skip the park and stay in the studio. This means that active play happens with rolling out mats, jumping, singing, drumming and dancing.  It works. We adjust the timing of activities sensitively with the flow of the children's moods. Their behavior tells us a lot about what should happen when.

9:30  Greeting, check-in, free play and investigation of the day's “provocation”. 
9:45  Morning Circle, greeting, music, story, daily plan, provocation discussion, or puppet performance
10:00 Free play centers: arts (arts, crafts, blocks, loose parts constructions, etc.), dramatic play, building projects, cooking or sensory science
10:30  Wash hands, snack (sometimes children help with preparation) - story time, conversations.
11:00   Active Indoor Play/music/movement stories/finishing projects/story time
12:00  Clean up, Circle Meeting, Goodbye songs, Reflections of our day,  and get ready to go for first group
12:30 Wash hands, lunch for long day group & short day Group Dismissal
12:40 Story time and Lunch
1:00   Quiet, restful play and finishing up projects of choice
1:15  Get ready to go, goodbye circle and song, recap and plan for next time
1:30  Long day group dismissal

Please note that the daily routine may change slightly depending on the needs of children in the classroom.

A Word About the Park: A Very Special Sanctuary

In the park, children this year found a teepee stick house to cover in scarves and play inside. They also covered a pine tree hide-out in scarves, wrapped yarn around two trees to drape fabric and make webs, and practiced weaving and wrapping sticks to learn more about using yarn. They delighted in finding their own faces, the sky and landscape reflected in mirrors. They pretended to ride on big sticks and balanced on larger sticks. They swept and raked leaves with real rakes and with leafy covered branches. They collected leaves in baskets to use in art projects and also made piles to bury themselves, throw high and jump into. On windy days they caught bubbles and balloons and even the swiftly falling leaves that spiraled around their heads. They explored paint and drawing on shadow covered trees and with color filled spray bottles. They made bark impressions and imagined science experiments with clay on tree trunks. They made their own music and shared in games both old and new. They examined the colors and how light shines through magnifying glasses and leaves. They played dress ups with boxes and scarves and built houses out of cardboard. They watched a new baby tree be planted and learned about people and animals that visit the park just like them. The grove we visit is a special sanctuary full of potential and laughter every day. What a blessing to have this land be an integral part of our arts and play studio experience together. It is an extension of the studio in ways unimaginable!

2016-2017

Story Tree playgroup is currently full for the year. You may inquire about our waiting list in case a space opens.

2017-2018

We are currently accepting applications for next Fall. You can join our mailing list to be sure to know about all upcoming tour dates or call us! 

Don't miss out on an opportunity to visit an open play workshop, a theatrical performance with a visiting artist, or an open house tour of the space to see if we are a good fit for your family.We look forward to meeting you, sharing what Story Tree Playgroup is all about, as well as hearing more about your needs for your child.