Bowker Hill Nature School is an in-home childcare program offering a nature-based education for children ages three to six. The program currently meets on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. The curriculum aims to promote the development of the whole child through play and outdoor learning. Class sizes at Bowker Hill are very small, allowing children to develop meaningful relationships with one another and their teacher. Families who choose Bowker Hill are choosing a program in which children will be exploring and playing outside for the majority of the day except in the most extreme weather.
Bowker Hill is a nature school. Nature plays a critical role in a child’s health and development. Spending time outside promotes physical and psychological well-being while at the same time deepening an innate sense of curiosity and wonder about the natural world. Outdoor play engages all of the senses, providing a holistic experience of learning and discovery.
Bowker Hill is a PLAY school. Play is the important “work” of the child. It is through play that young children learn to cooperate with others, take risks, make mistakes, experiment, plan, observe and adapt. They develop communication skills, flexible problem solving, resilience and perseverance. Play is essential to a child’s intellectual and emotional development.
Bowker Hill Nature School is committed to educating the whole child. This means attending equally to the cognitive, physical and ethical development of the child. Children need the time and space to use their imaginations, play, discover, get messy and make mistakes. At Bowker Hill Nature School, each child is given the time and opportunity to grow at his or her own pace, develop self-reliance and self-confidence and work toward becoming emotionally and socially competent people.
Quality early childhood educators aim to guide and shape a child’s natural curiosity
and enthusiasm for learning. Thus the curriculum at Bowker Hill adapts to meet the different interests, temperaments, needs and experiences of the present group of children.
At Bowker Hill the curriculum is heavily influenced by the seasons and what is happening in the world outside each day. Crafts, projects, songs, stories and games change with the changing seasons. Through nature walks, experiments, imaginary play, gardening, games, music, crafts and story, children engage their mind, body and spirit in the beauty and wonder of the world around them.
Children thrive on routine and each day follows a familiar and comforting routine and rhythm. There are active times and more focused times during the day, allowing the children to "breath in and breath out" as the day unfolds. The children busily run, build, sing, climb, dig and create during parts of the day, while at other times they listen to a story or poem, focus on a delicate craft project or quietly observe a creature or plant. In all activities, whether a song, craft or experiment, we value and appreciate the process, not the product of our work.
Children spend most of their time outside where they are immersed in the ideal environment for early childhood learners. The intensity and diversity of the sensory experience, the real-life challenges and the diversity of materials cannot be replicated in an indoor environment. Being outside during these formative years will promote a life-long appreciation for the magic and wonder of the natural world.
"Academic" subjects are integrated into they play and nature-based curriculum at Bowker Hill. STEM concepts are utilized and explored when the children build a fort or when they organize collections of leaves, rocks or seeds. When we read poetry and sing about the changes of the seasons, we are learning about literature and different cultures, expanding language skills and practicing careful observation. Pre-reading and writing skills are developed through speaking and listening, songs and stories and by developing fine the motor skills through craftwork.
Intellectual, social and ethical development are equally important and are granted equal time and attention in the school day. Learning to communicate one’s feelings, being a good friend and practicing important self-help skills are all considered the important work of the small child. At Bowker Hill, children are given the time, space, opportunity and guidance to develop these important life skills.
Bowker Hill Nature School offers a morning preschool program for children ages 3-6. The school day goes from 9am until 11:45am. Currently the schedule is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. As the school operates 100% outside, we do not currently offer extended day options for lunch as it can get too cold to sit to eat a full meal! Bowker Hill offers occasional programming in the summer or vacations. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for the most up to date scheduling.
A daily schedule is followed to ensure a sense of predictability & rhythm within the day, with room for changes based on children’s needs and interests.
Arrival – Greetings, say goodbye to caregivers, independently put away belongings, children "sign" attendance.
Outdoor Free Play - Includes building, sand box, imaginary play, collecting, painting, beading, games, water play, etc.
Circle Time/Morning Meeting – Songs, Poems, Sharing, Weather, Discuss Main Lesson or Theme
Thankfulness and Snack time
(Snacks brought from home)
Main Lesson – Craft, Nature Walk, Garden project, Holiday or Seasonal craft
End of Day Meeting and Story Time
Admissions and Enrollment
Applications are reviewed in the order that they are received, in addition priority is given to siblings. However, Bowker Hill does not admit students on a first-come, first-served basis. Rather, in making admissions decisions, it is important to create a balance of ages, abilities and personalities when possible. It is also imperative that families understand and support the philosophical aims of the program. Lastly, children must be developmentally ready for the program, regardless of his or her chronological age. "Developmentally ready" can include things such as being able to follow directions, showing respect towards other children and their teachers, and being able to communicate their needs. Please take this into serious consideration as deposits & fees are non-refundable if your child is not adjusting to the program.
PLEASE NOTE: Children need to be potty trained to attend the preschool. We are out in nature exploring everyday and this makes changing pull ups/diapers very difficult particularly with one teacher.
1. Contact the school at firstname.lastname@example.org or (508)221-0055 to request an application.
2. Submit the application.
3. Upon receipt of the application, a school visit will be scheduled.
4. If a space is offered for your child, you will be given a parent handbook and contract to read carefully, complete, return within one week with the non-refundable commitment fee. This will register your child and secure your child’s place in the program.
Tuition and Financial Information
9 payments from September 1st through May 1st plus one month’s deposit
Tuition Rates: (Tuition rates are subject to a yearly increase)
Three Days per week: $390 per month
Four Days per week: $520 per month
One month’s tuition as a commitment fee is due with your contract. There may be a supply fee of no more than $50 per year.
*Please note: The tuition remains the same each week/month/year regardless of the amount of days the school is opened every month and/or if you child is absent for any reason. Fees are based on an annual tuition not a daily rate. Planned school vacations, snow days, holidays and child absences do not affect the tuition rates.
A $50 fee will be charged for each NSF check.
Bowker Hill Nature School respects and appreciates your concern for the health and safety of your children and family. Here are some things that you should know:
* Our programs have always been primarily outside, thus reducing the risks of exposure and transmission of viruses like Covid-19. Currently our programs are 100% outside.
* Children have always been dropped off and picked up outside each day, thus their care-givers do not come into the building nor in close contact to the other children.
* Hand-washing is a monitored practice for everybody every day upon arrival, before eating and after using the bathroom. In addition, we are often visibly dirty so regular hand-washing comes very naturally!
*Bowker Hill Nature School is a single small group of children with one teacher. We do not mix nor share space with other programs, groups or instructors.
*When and if we go back to the occasional use of indoor space, those spaces are sanitized daily before and after school and surfaces are wiped after use.
*Children do not wear masks for outdoor play at this time but we will always adhere to the strictest version of local guidelines and recommendations.
Alisa is the founder and lead teacher at Bowker Hill Nature School. Alisa holds a Masters Degree in Elementary Education and is licensed through the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care as well as the Massachusetts Department of Education. She is certified in adult and child CPR and First Aid through the American Red Cross.
Alisa’s passion for the outdoors and her belief in the value of educating through nature has inspired much of her professional and private life. Between 2002 and 2011, Alisa taught first, second, third and fourth grades at The Nantucket Lighthouse School, an independent school on Nantucket. During her tenure at the school, Alisa integrated several outdoor education programs into the curriculum of the school, making a lasting impact on the institution. Prior to her time at the Lighthouse School, Alisa worked for the Strong Wings Adventure School, a program on Nantucket that led children and adults on outdoor biking, kayaking and hiking adventures. From 2002 until leaving Nantucket in 2014, Alisa spent her summers leading her own biking adventure camp for adolescent girls. In 2012, Alisa started an after-school program that combined outdoor adventures with homework tutoring.
In addition to her work with school-aged children and adolescents, Alisa worked with her son’s co-op preschool in 2014/2015, which inspired her to start her own preschool program.
Alisa now lives in Norwell, MA with her husband Jake, and their children, Ben and Sadie.