Nature Preschool

Kids playing at the nature store

Nature abounds with opportunities for our earliest learners at
The Howard County Conservancy Nature Preschool

Serving children ages 3 – 5 in mixed age group settings

Prospective students can now schedule a guided tour to see what makes our preschool so special!

School Year

2024 -2025 Enrollment

Tuition covers enrollment from

September 3, 2024 to June 13, 2025

The Nature Preschool invites families to join our waitlist

Registration for the 2024-2025 school year begins on January 22, 2024

Full – Day

Monday – Friday | 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM | $1,265 monthly

 Extended Care (optional) | 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM | $200 monthly

Half – Day

Monday – Friday | 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM | $665 monthly

Summer 2024 Enrollment

Sessions are filled on a first-come, first-served basis

Registration opens January 22, 2024 at 9:00am

Session 1: July 1 – 12
Session 2: July 15 – 26
Session 3: July 29 – August 9
Session 4: August 12 – 16 

Full – Day

Monday – Friday | 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM | $730/ session 

 Extended Care (optional) | 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM | $100/ session

*Additional full day spaces may be added in the coming weeks. If the session you choose is full, please join the waitlist to receive updates.

 Half – Day

Monday – Friday | 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM | $370/ session

Session four prices are prorated to reflect one week*

Photo by Nikki Miller

Playdate with Nature Series

(caregiver and child)

Join us at Belmont for outdoor adventures and nature-based learning. In this monthly series, children and their caregivers are invited for hikes and thoughtfully curated and child-led activities while exploring nature! Best suited for children ages 2-5 with caregiver present.

April Series 

Wednesday 4/3/24 – 4/24/24

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM | $60 monthly

May Series 

Wednesday 5/1/24 – 5/22/24

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM | $60 monthly

Photo by Nikki Miller
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Our Education Philosophy

  • The Conservancy’s nature preschool encourages a connection to nature with our earliest learners and supports a holistic approach to child development.

  • Our curriculum supports socio-emotional development, artistic expression, early literacy and language skills.  Nature abounds with opportunities to explore environmental sciences, mathematics and engineering through sensorial experiences and hands-on learning.

  • Our nature-based, emergent curriculum is thoughtfully designed to prepare children for kindergarten.  Through daily exploration, play, and a curriculum that centers the active interests of the students, we foster a life-time of curiosity and deep love for learning.
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Our Goals and Practices

  • We strive to spend at least 50% of the day outdoors. Our staff is ready to embrace all weather and help children do the same.

  • Natural materials are used for our crafts and play.

  • We model sustainable practices by composting, recycling, encouraging trash free lunches and limiting single-use plastics.

  • Families are an important part of our preschool community and family participation programs are held throughout the year. 

  • Our program participates in Maryland EXCELS, the state’s quality rating improvement system for licensed early education programs. 

Want to learn more?

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Our Facility

Belmont Manor and Historic Park
6553 Belmont Woods Road, Elkridge, MD

  • We are located within a county park, bordering thousands of acres of state park.

  • Onsite animal friends include a terrapin and a corn snake.

  • Our facility features two interactive classrooms, a covered patio and a natural play area with climbing log, stump jump, musical fence, “nature store” and more!

  • Our students explore various landscapes throughout the year, including meadows, streams, forests and gardens.

Want to learn more?

Prospective students can now schedule a guided tour to see what makes our preschool so special!


Unified Hands with Dirt

Need Based Scholarships

All children should be able to explore and learn from the natural world. Limited scholarship spaces are available for families demonstrating financial need. Currently, scholarships cover 50- 100% of costs for the school year, based on need. We hope to award two scholarships.

Unified Hands in the Field

MD EXCELS Scholarships

As a licensed child care provider participanting in the Maryland EXCELS program, we are eligible to accept Child Care Scholarship vouchers through the state of Maryland. More Information can be found by following the link below.

Nature Preschool in the News

Nature Preschool Featured on
Outdoors Maryland!

See our little naturalists in action as they investigate the cicada life cycle and create nature inspired art! From “Outdoors Maryland” episode 3302 (coverage starts at 7:15)

As Featured in The Baltimore Sun

“When Annabel is outside for long periods of time, she behaves better; she listens better; she’s happier; and she sleeps better.” said Jones, of Crofton, who also believes the program is doing a good job preparing Annabel for kindergarten.

“We’re not a traditional school, but we’re adding and subtracting and chanting our ABCs through the forest,” said Caylor, noting that students write their letters outside in chalk, do math with various items like pine cones and science projects in the stream and elsewhere.

Frolicking in the mud
Hike through the forest
MSDE Certified

Contact the Director

Jess Caylor Headshot

Jessica Caylor joined the Howard County Conservancy as the Nature Preschool Director in January 2021. She previously served as a forest school teacher and has spent the last twelve years in the world of early childhood education. Jess’ degree in Geography and Environmental Studies combined with her years of experience as a preschool teacher make Nature Preschool the perfect niche. This program offers a unique environment for children to grow and blossom, while deeply connecting with the natural world.

Holding a frog
Balanced on a tree trunk
maryland excels certification
MSDE Certified
maryland excels certification