2019 Fall Semester (ages 3 - 6)

2019 Fall Semester (ages 3 - 6)


Welcome to GROW’s Urban Environmentalist Program!

The goals of this program are to:

  • Build student confidence in nature through positive experiences, active learning, and collaborative outdoor play

  • Support student knowledge in the areas of ecology, conservation, and permaculture farming

  • Strengthen a sense of community belonging through regular parent involvement and the fostering of positive social relationships

  • Inspire a love of nature that translates into action as our students look for ways to help care for their local public parks and green-spaces

Course Overview for ages 3-6 years old program:

Quick Details:

  • Cost - $105 per semester (3 months)

    • This breaks down to $35/month, which is an average of $8 per week.

    • GROW is a small, mostly volunteer operated, nonprofit organization that is committed to keeping costs for education as low as possible while upholding our standards for quality programming. Tuition fees help cover basic operating expenses related to the program such as staffing and supplies used by students (including the costs associated with developing the project site.) A portion of all tuition payments also goes back into Metro Parks department to help sustain our public parks lands for future generations. Funding for other aspects of our organization’s work in the community come from sources such as charitable donations, corporate sponsorship, fundraising efforts, and grants.

  • Age range - This class is intended for students ages 3 to 6 years old.

  • Time - Mondays, 10am - 12:30pm (*parents please note that this course has a shorter time-frame than the other age group programs)

  • Date range - August 5th through October 28th

  • Location - Two Rivers Park, Donelson

  • Content - environmental nomenclature, gross and fine motor skills development, fostering a love of nature, social emotional development

  • Activity level - HIGH!

In an effort to better achieve our program goals, this year we have created an environmental program tailored to the specific needs of our youngest learners. This multi-age program will be closely modeled after the forest nature learning programs in Europe. Students will explore the natural areas of the park and forests, take discovery hikes, and self direct their own activities to a large degree. We have intentionally kept our 5 and 6 year old learners with this grouping so that they have the opportunity to share their knowledge with younger students entering GROW’s program. Our hope is that this will help them acquire early leadership skills while strengthening their sense of place in the GROW community. As younger students look up to them, they will be the “big kids” who know where to build the best forts, where to find the best fruits, and which trees are best for climbing!

Other things to know about this program include:

  • Registration fee reserves your child's place in the class for the month. Each class stands alone so your child will not be "behind" if they must miss a class. 

  • Children ages 3 and 4 will require a parent or other guardian to attend class with them, while students ages 5 and 6 will be eligible to be dropped off if they are ready. We hope that by age 6 most students will achieve the independence and confidence in nature necessary to attend class on their own but we recognize that all children develop at varying paces.

    • A note for caregivers staying with little learners: Your engaged presence during program time is essential to helping your child develop confidence, build a sense of community, and ultimately become an independent learner within the larger GROW community. We ask that you stay with your child at all times and participate in the activities at hand along with your student. Our team encourages you to give your child as much freedom as he/she can handle while remaining near enough to assist, encourage, or comfort them as needed.

  • GROW seeks to protect the privacy and safety of all learners within our community. Please be mindful with regards to taking videos or photographs during programming time.

  • The GROW project site is entirely outdoors, with no access to running water or electricity. This means that we do not have access to indoor shelter in inclement weather. In the event that a scheduled program must be cancelled, we do not conduct a ‘make-up’ class. This is, in-part, due to the fact that our project site is frequently in use by other groups (such as corporate volunteers or public school field trips) on subsequent days of the week.

  • Siblings under the age of three in the care of a parent with another child enrolled do not require registration.

  • We maintain a portapotty at the project site during the programming season for use by our students. The nearest public bathroom facility is located on the other side of Two Rivers Park near “Wave Country” and the skate park.

  • Once your registration is complete, you will receive additional information regarding the class schedule, drop off and pick up procedures, and more.

sold out
Register Now

All of GROW's programs at the garden lab are entirely outdoors. It is important that students arrive prepared to engage in nature and cope with varying weather conditions. We recommend dressing in layers for early spring and fall, and dressing in light weight breathable fabrics during hot summer months. Also, Middle TN is home to an abundance of insects including ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes. Please be sure to take appropriate precautions to protect your child from these pests. It is advisable that children wear closed-toed shoes to the garden lab to protect their feet from sharps, stinging insects, or snakes that may be hidden in grass or leaf litter inside the forest. These simple steps help to ensure your child is comfortable while at GROW and able to focus on the joy of learning in nature. 

Finally, please be sure your child always brings a small, peanut-free, healthy snack and a reusable water bottle to GROW. We will provide a water bottle refill station at the garden.  Having a backpack to put these items in will make hiking much more enjoyable for your child.