Start a nature-based school

We help early childhood educators start nature-based preschools, forest preschools, forest kindergartens, or other models of nature-based early childhood education businesses.

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We can help with

  • Business planning

  • Securing a program site

  • Staff recruitment and hiring

  • Licensing a new program

  • Establishing a program philosophy

  • Developing a nature-based curriculum

  • Designing natural play areas

  • Reviewing building schematics

    …and more!

Services we offer for starting a school

Establishing a Nature-based Preschool

By Rachel A. Larimore

Nature-based preschools are powerful programs that fuse early childhood and environmental education to develop a child's lifelong connection with the natural world. With the number of this unique, cutting-edge program growing throughout the country, many nature centers are asking, “Is a nature-based preschool right for us?” Establishing a Nature-Based Preschool, written by Samara’s founder, helps answer that question and provides a how-to guide to move from concept to implementation.


 Early childhood educators!

Discover the next step on your nature-based journey

Take this 90-second quiz to discover the opportunities you have to implement nature-based early childhood education.

You’ll receive a custom toolkit based on your strengths so you can start a thriving school where children learn with nature.

Free resources for starting a nature-based school

Evaluating Natureness: Measuring the Quality of Nature-based Classrooms in Pre-K through 3rd Grade

By Patti Ensel Bailie, Rachel A. Larimore*, & Arianna E. Pikus

This new book introduces the NAture-Based Education Rating Scales (NABERS) for Pre-K and K–3—a tool of measuring the quality of nature-based program. The book also includes tips and tricks for moving the needle towards quality. The tool addresses:

→ Program goals and curriculum practices

→ Staffing

→ Environment

→ Community partnerships

→ Family engagement

Whether you want to evaluate an existing nature-based program or discover how to shift your program toward a nature focus, this book is for you!

*Rachel is Samara Early Learning’s Founder & Chief Visionary

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