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Open-air preschool at Salamonie

BIRDS MIGRATE: Preschool age children listen to Interpretive Specialist Eva Webb read from the book “Welcome, Brown Bird” on Wednesday morning at the “Birds Migrate” Salamonie Preschool Lesson. One preschooler points to the sky as a few birds circled the blue skies above the Salamonie Interpretive Center.

by James Ehle - jehle@h-ponline.com

Children ages 3 to 5 have new opportunities to learn outdoors with Salamonie Forest Preschool at Salmonie Interpretive Center in Andrews.

The program just began this year, adding to the Salamonie Interpretive Center’s typical programing. Salamonie Preschool has allowed dozens of kids prepare for the classroom during its monthly meetings, but Forest Preschool will provide kids with even more chances to hone their soft skills while learning more about nature. 

“Forest preschool is a child-led, play and nature-based experience where a child will learn to be creative, solve problems, and build relationships with others and their environment,” a spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources shared. “This experience strengthens the child’s relationship with the land helping them to become better stewards. Forest preschool is periodic outdoor learning, in all weather conditions, which allows learning through unstructured, exploratory play using all five senses.”

This week, kids and parents listened to Interpretive Specialist Eva Webb read from the book “Welcome, Brown Bird” while learning about the migration of birds on Wednesday morning at Salamonie Preschool’s “Birds Migrate” lesson program.

While Webb read aloud, several of the children noticed birds flying overhead and tried out a few bird calls of their own. The pages from the book were brought to life in the life surrounding the Salamonie Interpretive Center at Lost Bridge West State Recreation Area.

The special lesson is part of a larger program organized by Upper Wabash Interpretive Services, designed to enhance basic education including music, crafts, social interaction and time outdoors, through nature-related themes.

The next program takes place on Oct. 1, called “S is for Spider” where the kids will observe spiders and their webs, and learn how they’re different from insects.

Forest preschool will be offered through a Tuesday series offered from 9 a.m. to noon. Dates include Oct. 1, Nov. 5, Dec. 3, Jan. 7, Feb. 4, March 3, April 7, and May 6.

A Wednesday series offered from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 23, Nov. 20, Dec. 3, Jan. 22, Feb. 19, March 18, April 20 and May 6.

The program fee is $2 per child for each lesson and advanced registration is recommended. Adults can register their children by calling UWIS at (260) 468-2127.

Additional information on other UWIS programs can be found at dnr.IN.gov/uwis or facebook.com/upperwabash, or by calling (260) 468-2127.

Upper Wabash Interpretive Services (dnr.IN.gov/uwis) is at 3691 S. New Holland Road, Andrews, 46702.