The Little Trees program at the Morton Arboretum is designed to get children outside and help them learn through their own curiosity.
“Little Trees is our 32-week nature-based early learning program where the children get to experience the seasons and nature at the arboretum,” said Emilian Geczi, manager of the early childhood programs at the Morton Arboretum.
More Time Outside
Each class is two and a half hours long with focused activities like crafts as well as time for free play and exploring.
New safety precautions this year to protect against COVID-19 have the kids spending even more time outside than before.
“We are using the outdoor spaces at the arboretum more exclusively,” said Geczi. “We are only going inside if it gets dangerously cold or there’s a thunderstorm or something like that.”
Other Safety Precautions
Kids are also required to wear masks and are provided with their own backpack with supplies so that tools and materials don’t need to be shared among them.
“I think they’ve done a great job balancing taking the safety precautions necessary with keeping it as normal as possible for the kiddos,” said Jillmarie Kawaoka, whose child is in their second year with the program.
Creating Curious Kids
Parents like Kawaoka say the Little Trees program is a chance for young children to grow into creative thinkers driven by a love of learning.
“It’s not a very structured program when it comes to they have to learn letters or numbers or certain skill sets,” she said. “It’s more following their curiosity and then answer those questions– finding ways to answer those questions on their own.”
Getting hands on to promote curiosity.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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