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Doodlebugs Nature & Art Program (for preschoolers)

11201 Garrison Forest Road
Owings Mills, MD 21117

(443) 738-9200


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Montessori

From the Director:

Like Montessori, we provide a sensory-rich environment for children to explore as they learn. Self-directed, student-centered learning takes place based on a weekly theme (example: Rock on with Dinosaurs!). Self-directed learning is combined with group projects (example: building a giant nest outdoors) and teacher led activities (example: science experiment called Will It Melt?). We believe this combination rounds out each student's experience and provides exciting opportunities for students of all learning styles to get engaged in the learning process.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • We relate animal sounds and calls to sounds of letters. We play games that incorporate words and letter sounds. We introduce and apply new vocabulary daily. Children participate in writing activities regularly as well as dictace or retell stories as a class.
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • We incorporate natural artifacts such as turtle shells, bones, seeds, and feathers for counting, sorting, and grouping.
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
  • The children meet with live animal handlers and regularly meet live animals (example: corn snake, bullfrog, oppossum, barred owl, etc.) Children also participate in growing food and herbs to use for snack and maintain gardens for wildlife habitat. Children also help fill bird feeders and observe wildlife throughout our 116 acres of trails and gardens.
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
  • Please see previous description -- nature is our playground! We explore 116 acres as well as a fabulous Outdoor Classroom.
Other subjects taught Nuturing respect and appreciation for the natural world are the corner stones of our mission. We go beyond "teaching" about nature. We experience nature firsthand and help children understand the connection between wild animals, people, and nature. We incorporate eco-friendly practices every day, not just on special themed days, such as Earth Day. These values set the tone for environmental awareness that will last a lifetime.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The Nature Preschool at Irvine is a child-centered approach to early childhood education with an emphasis on a balanced curriculum. It seeks to develop the "whole child" focusing on cognitive, physical, social, emotional and creative activities. Our nature-based curriculum benefits learners of all modalities through hands-on experiences both indoors and out.