NaturePlay Pre-School

For over 16 years the Corvallis Environmental Center’s preschool program at the Avery House Nature Center, has strived to facilitate a deep connection between students and their environment through engaging and playful nature activities outdoors! We tell stories, sing, play movement games, do amazing art projects and learn about nature through inquiry and investigation of nature’s seasonal cycles.

Registration for the 2019-2020 school year will open March 1, 2019. 

Register for the 2018-2019 school year by clicking the links below . 

NaturePlay Morning Pre-School (ages 3-5)
NaturePlay Afternoon Science Pre-K – 1st grade  (ages 4-7)

Click here to make a payment for NaturePlay Preschool. 

Nature Based Curriculum: Preparing for Kindergarten

Students learn everything they would at a traditional preschool and more.  Activities, games and art focus on place-based learning through inquiry and investigation of nature’s seasonal cycles.  We learn the alphabet through nature’s themes, and identify letter sounds and small words as they are ready.  Math concepts such as counting, measurement and early literacy are integrated throughout the curriculum.  Experiments and nature games prepare students for following directions and improving social skills like sharing and teamwork.


Why NaturePlay?

What could be better than stomping in puddles, collecting leaves, and playing in nature?  We spend time outside learning from the natural world that surrounds them. Through our activities we help our students learn to get along with others and follow a routine.  Our engaging activities contribute to increasing their attention span and retaining information in preparation for kindergarten and life skills that will follow them throughout their educational path.

Classroom Environment and Healthy Snack Choices

Using positive reinforcement and communication we create a happy, relaxed environment to support student’s learning and social growth. Every day, we serve a healthy and hearty organic and locally grown (as often as possible) snack while honoring all dietary or allergy needs. We believe that good wholesome nutritious food is essential in setting the stage for a positive learning experience.


Program Staff and Child Safety

Instructors come from a variety of backgrounds including early childhood education and development and natural sciences, but all are experienced in and passionate about sharing nature with children in a kind, open and consistent manner.   Our Lead Teacher and Curriculum Specialist is Meika Vingelen has over 18 years in environmental education and early childhood instruction.  Assistant Nature Education Instructor Annie Hamilton has over 7 years experience in environmental education.  Instructors are certified in CPR, First Aid, EPI pin administration and food handling. All adults (staff and volunteers) in the classroom have passed full criminal background checks through the Benton County Sheriff’s office. Staff to student ratios are 7:1 for ages 3-4 and 8:1 for ages 5-6, with a maximum class size of 16 students.

Tuition, Fees and Payment Options

Our daily rate is $25 for all our morning  and afternoon programs.   A $100 annual registration and supplies is due at the time of enrollment. If enrolling in January this fee may be reduced.  Enrollment in the program is monthly and based on the number of days a child attends per week.  Your payment amount will be the same each month except December is a ½ payment and no payment is due in June. This accounts for all holidays. Payments are due the first week of each month. Payments are made to CEC or Corvallis Environmental Center and it is great if you put your student’s name in memo.

Payment options:
1. Online Banking – enter the following payee information (Note: this is a new account number and we might send follow up instructions soon)
Corvallis Environmental Center
116 SW 4th Ave
Corvallis 97333
acct # 42209801
Memo: Students name
2. Check delivered to Avery House the first week of the month
Payable to: CEC or Corvallis Environmental Center
Memo: students name
Please use one of our provided envelopes to enclose your cash or check and label envelope with your child’s name.  Place envelope in payment box at Avery House.


Attendance & Refund Policy

Avery House is staffed according to our monthly registrations and pre-planned therefore missed days for sickness, vacation or extreme weather conditions cannot be refunded.  Registration is for the length of the school year or as otherwise agreed upon time. If you need to cancel your enrollment, please provide 30 days written notice (required).  Upon written notice you will receive your pro-rated invoice for balance due.

Calendar Year and Weather-Related Closures

We follow the Oregon State University schedule for holidays. There will be no class on:

  • Winter Break-December 17, 2018 – January 1, 2019
  • Martin Luther King Day-January 21, 2019
  • Spring Break-March 24-29, 2019
  • Memorial Day-May 27, 2019

We  also follow Oregon State University schedule for snow closures and will send out emails to confirm our closure and cancellation of preschool .


Oregon law requires proof of immunizations or an exemption, for all children attending schools, preschools or child-care centers.  As a preschool we are required to provide this information and the overall immunization rates to the Oregon Health Authority Immunization Program administered by the Benton County Health Department.  This information is due at the time of enrollment.  Click HERE for our 2018 Immunization rates.

What to Bring to NaturePlay

We will be going outside EVERY day, rain, snow, wind or shine! Please bring a jacket for your student as mornings can be chilly. Please pack one extra set of clothes (socks, underwear, pants and shirts) and label with your child’s name we will keep them throughout the year or you are welcome to pack a small backpack daily. When the weather gets wet or as the mornings are damp, please bring mud boots.  Flip flops or open-toed sandals are not permitted. We have some extra clothes and boots on hand but the selection is a bit limited.