Nature Kids: After School at Coogan Farm

Acknowledging the research that shows that outdoor play is critical to children’s physical and mental well being and growth, the Denison Pequotsepos/Coogan Farm Nature & Heritage Center is offering Nature Kids, an after school program that provides students in grades K-6 with the opportunity to be outside every day after school.

20140701_120554_resizedDPNC is committed to making sure children spend time in nature, learning and having fun. Studies show that the average American boy or girl spends as few as 30 minutes in unstructured outdoor play each day, and more than seven hours each day in front of an electronic screen.

In this new program, children will arrive at Coogan Farm after school (via bus or caregiver, depending on school district), have a healthy snack and do homework. After homework comes outdoor IMG_5474play, crafts, and activities including learning farm skills, making art outdoors, playing music in the woods, and other nature-inspired activities.  From free play in the woods to planting seeds in the garden, Nature Kids will experience all DPNC has to offer.

Outdoor play increases fitness levels and builds active, healthy bodies, an important strategy in helping the one in three American kids who are overweight get fit. Children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces, according to researchers at the University of Illinois.

Students can be bused or dropped off at Coogan Farm after school, where a DPNC educator will greet them. DPNC staff will work with parents on transportation based on your bus and school district. The program begins Tuesday, Sept. 6, and runs Monday-Friday through mid-June (depending on when school ends). The hours are from school dismissal until 6 p.m. The program will follow the Stonington school calendar and be closed on school holidays and snow days.

The program will be headquartered in the Jules X. Schneider Arts Barn at the Coogan Farm Nature & Heritage Center, 162 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic. Children should have clothing appropriate for outdoor play regardless of the weather. The cost is $85/month for one day a week; $160/month for two days a week; $228/month for three days a week; $302/month for four days a week; and $350/month for five days a week. The minimum group size is 10 students for the program to run. For more information, call program head Rob Reas at 860-536-1216 or email rreas@dpnc.org.

Scholarships available; please call for information

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