Close this search box.


Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, we have decided to not offer our preschool program this spring.

We will assess the conditions later this year, and will make a decision about the fall semester then.

Encourage your preschooler's love of nature!

Preschoolers will have the opportunity to explore all that the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary has to offer. In each class, your child will be engaged in hands-on learning experiences that promote a connection to nature.

Preschool programs have been an integral part of the museum’s mission since 1974. This informal science program introduces your child to the natural world through nature walks and hands-on science activities that foster cooperation with others, language development, and creative play.


Preschool Nature Explorers is appropriate for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. We use the age of students on September 1 for placement for each academic year.


Please see the information below on prerequisites for all participating children. 

2 small children playing with and learning about elements of nature in a classroom

Our Preschool Program

Preschool Nature Explorers will spend the school year learning  about the world around us. Each week we’ll meet one of the Heard’s live animal ambassadors and take a nature hike to explore different habitats from wetlands and forests to prairie and ponds.  We’ll also prowl through museum exhibits, participate in hands-on science activities, sing songs, listen to stories, and play nature themed-games! We’ll talk about our responsibility to nature and what we can do to the help the plants and animals around us.

Fall 2024 Semester

We’ll focus on habitats and ecosystems. We’ll learn how animals that are awake at night can live in the dark. We’ll dig into dinosaurs and fossils. We’ll watch as summer changes to fall and heads towards winter.

Spring 2025 Semester

We’ll discover more about the wide variety of animals that live on our planet and what makes each one unique. We’ll also observe nature wake up from its winter slumber as it blossoms into spring.

COVID-19 Impact Information

Fall 2021 Homeschool Covid Protocol Statement as of May 2021

At this time, we are optimistic that the Covid-19 situation will continue to improve in our area and that minimal Covid-19 protocols will need to be implemented. Accordingly, we are offering the full scope of our regular preschool and homeschool classes beginning this fall and have set up registration accordingly.


However, if conditions change and any local, state, or federal mandates are implemented that would affect what we offer, we reserve the right to make any needed changes to our program offerings and/or class sizes.


As for the preschool/homeschool protocols we will require when classes start – we can’t give exact details at this time. Towards the end of summer, we will evaluate the current Covid-19 situation and what the CDC and other scientific organizations are recommending for best practices. We will follow their suggestions as they apply to our situation and do our best to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff, and their families.


Though we are hoping conditions will be such that we need minimal, if any, covid protocols. But if conditions warrant, we may utilize some or all of the protocols and guidelines we used during the 20-21 academic year. For example, we may limit class sizes; require face masks to be worn while indoors and in any other areas specified by the museum; have a health check before entering class; and/or have a one-way drop off/pick-up at the SRC, etc. We may also provide additional classroom and restroom sanitization and single-use classroom supplies. The touching of live animals and specimens may be limited or restricted as well. Again, what guidelines and protocols we use will be determined by the best practices suggested by the medical/health experts. What, if any, protocols we put in place will be sent to all registered families and posted on our website by the end of August.


We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate through this unique time.


Per semester: 26 hour program/13 weeks

Non-Members: $240*

Members: $216

Optional Monthly Payment Plan

  • (Includes $5 processing fee per payment)
  • $115 Non-member down payment | $95 Heard Museum Member down payment* 
  • A monthly payment (includes a $5 processing fee) will be charged to your credit card on file the 1st of October and November in the fall or February and March in the spring.


Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:30am – 11:30am


Fall Dates

  • Meet the Teacher – week of September 10
  • Classes Start – week of September 17
  • No class the week of November 25 (Thanksgiving)
  • Classes End – week of December 10

Spring Dates

  • Meet the Teacher – week of January 14
  • Classes Start – week of January 21
  • No classes the week of March 17 (spring break)
  • Classes End – April 15


Pre-registration is required. 


Registration Dates: 

  • Open to Current Students: April 16-May 15
  • Open to the Pubic: May 16

Additional Information

The Heard’s weekly Preschool Nature Explorers Program is appropriate for 3 and 4-year-old children. We use the age of each student on September 1 for class placement for the entire academic year. Please see below for additional prerequisite information.


Please note that all participating children must be fully potty-trained and able to use the restroom without adult aid. Additionally, all participating children must be able to walk with the class group for a minimum of 20 minute periods at a time.

Fall 2024

  • Cancellation/Withdrawals:
  • 100% minus $20 admin fee per student August 1
  • 50% minus $20 admin fee per student August 31
  • No refunds after September 1

Spring 2025

  • 100% minus $20 admin fee per student December 1
  • 50%minus $20 admin fee per student December 29
  • No refunds after December 30