Parkland School Division's Nature-Based Kindergarten program is based out of Muir Lake School, where children from all over Parkland School Division are offered authentic learning experiences primarily within a dedicated woodland classroom and the surrounding outdoor area. This optional kindergarten program of choice gets children active and in touch with nature while extending their kindergarten experience from half-time to full-time.
In keeping with our Ultimate Goal of Student Success and Well-being, PSD's Nature-Based Kindergarten program provides meaningful student engagement while addressing the kindergarten curriculum, as children spend most of their day outside connecting with local habitats as inspiration for their academic learning. Nature-Based Kindergarten nurtures independent, confident and resilient learners with a zeal for problem-solving, fostering children's physical literacy and lifelong health and well-being through outdoor adventures that contribute to the social and emotional assets of individual health.
Two Streams to Choose From
Starting in the 2023-2024 school year, the Nature-Based Kindergarten program will offer two streams:
- Nature Kindergarten (full-curriculum); and,
- Nature Enrichment.
Nature K Streams At-a-glance
Apply to Register
The registration process differs depending on the stream chosen.
Nature Kindergarten: Registration for this stream must be completed online through PowerSchool. Start by visiting our Registration page. During registration, select Muir Lake School and then Nature Kindergarten.
Nature Enrichment: Registration is a two-step process.
- STEP ONE: Register your child for regular kindergarten (for PSD families, this could be the Nature Kindergarten class). If your child will be attending a PSD school, visit our Registration page to complete online student registration.
- STEP TWO: Access the 2023-2024 Nature Enrichment Application Package. The package is stored on Google Drive and contains various Nature Enrichment information and documents, including an application. Click on the application form (Google Form) and follow the instructions to complete your submission.
2023-2024 Open Houses
Families will be able to see the full scope of the program, ask any questions they may have and evaluate if Nature-Based Kindergarten is a good fit for them and their child(ren).
|Date: Thursday, February 16, 2023
Location: Muir Lake School
|Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Location: Muir Lake School
Program Key Elements
- Research demonstrates that experiences in nature are beneficial to all areas of development
- This opportunity is one solution to all day EVERYDAY quality programming for kindergarten children in PSD
- This is an excellent learning opportunity for all kindergarten children
- Children will continue in their community kindergarten classrooms as per the PSD Kindergarten Calendar.
This early years opportunity allows children to spend the vast majority of their day outside engaged in meaningful ways with their body, mind and spirit while located in a natural setting. These students will continue with their current Parkland School Division kindergarten programming within their respective community schools.
Working as a group of adventurers, nature-based kindergarten children will be given additional outdoor opportunities by Parkland School Division to be self-directed through their own curiosity and exploration. Using multiple natural learning environments, children will develop confidence in their own abilities to investigate and to collaborate outdoors and within their natural environment. Children will be physically active and engaged in movement skills that will facilitate their balance, stamina and strength.
Children will be supported by trained, certificated teaching staff (for the full-curriculum stream) who follow the Alberta Programs of Study and plan to include activities and learning experiences that occur outside. In order to ensure an optimal environment for the children, a teacher and educational assistant will be available to support the kindergarten students.
The Nature Enrichment stream will be led by experienced recreation staff with support from a qualified educational assistant.
The program is primarily taught at Muir Lake School where staff and students have access to an indoor classroom as well as the outdoor forest classroom. The site offers wide open and treed terrain to form a rich natural learning environment. The children are able to observe a range of wildlife habitats, including a beaver pond.
Some Fridays (weather permitting), classes will travel to other nearby nature spaces, including the Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area and Muir Lake Day Use Area, to expand their exploration and discovery.
Nature-Based Kindergarten educators consult the forecast regularly, and weather-related safety is considered in all decisions (e.g. how far to venture away from the outdoor classroom, how long to be outside, etc.). In cases of extreme cold (-23ºC or below, including wind chill) or extreme heat (+30ºC or above), staff will limit students’ length of exposure and constantly assess the children’s comfort and safety (watching for signs of frostbite, hypothermia, heat exhaustion, etc.). An on-site warming shelter (for colder days) and access to indoor shelter, washrooms and learning labs ensure that learning can safely continue in such conditions.
Nature-Based Kindergarten fees are charged on a cost-recovery basis.
- Nature Kindergarten (full-curriculum): No education fee charged to families (Government-funded).
- Nature Enrichment: $400 per month (September through June).
We will strive to accommodate everyone interested in registering for this program on a first-come, first-serve basis. We will be keeping a wait list in case of cancellations or if we get enough registrations for an additional class. If you are interested in having your child on our wait list, please call Muir Lake School at 780-963-3535.
For more information contact:
Muir Lake School