Natureplay Preschool

For over 18 years the Corvallis Environmental Center’s preschool program at the Avery House Nature Center has striven 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.

Our facility is located in Avery Park (by the train) and has access to native  plant gardens, old growth forests, a riparian ecosystem and hiking trails, playground areas, and seasonal wetlands—providing fun learning opportunities year round!

Registration for the 2019-2020 school year: 

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 and she has over 20 years in environmental education and early childhood instruction.  Our two assistant Nature Education Instructors are Anna Secreast and Sarah Devine, with many years of experience in environmental education between them both.  All of our instructors are certified in CPR, First Aid, and hold State of Oregon food handling certifications. All adults (staff and volunteers) in the classroom have passed full criminal background checks through the Oregon Department of Human Services. Staff to student ratios are 1 teacher to 6 students.


Tuition, Fees, and Payment Options

Our daily rate is $25 for all our morning and afternoon programs. A $100 annual supplies and registration fee is due at the time of enrollment. 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, which is half of your usual monthly payment, and no payment is due in June. This accounts for all holidays. Payments are due the first week of each month.

Our preferred method of payment is by check (in order to save on transaction fees…every little bit helps since we are a nonprofit organization). You may choose to pay by PayPal upon registration or set up to pay online through your bank. You may also pay by check which can simply be dropped off either at Avery House or our downtown office or it can be mailed to the address below.

Mailing address:
Corvallis Environmental Center
116 SW 4th St.
Corvallis, OR 97333

*Please add the student’s name in the memo line of the check*

If you drop off your check at Avery House, please use one of our provided envelopes and label it with your child’s name.  Place the envelope in payment box in the animal room (west entrance).


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.

2018-2019 Calendar Year and Weather-Related Closures 

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

  • Spring Break – March 24-29, 2019
  • Memorial Day – May 27, 2019

2019-2020 Calendar Year and Weather-Related Closures

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

  • Veterans Day – November 11, 2020
  • Thanksgiving Holiday – November 28-29, 2019
  • Winter Break – December 16, 2019 – January 3, 2020
  • Martin Luther King Day – January 20, 2020
  • Spring Break – March 23-29, 2020
  • Memorial Day – May 25, 2020

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 2019 Immunization rates.


What to Bring to Natureplay Preschool

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. We also recommend packing a reusable water bottle for your child to use. When the weather gets wet or as the mornings are damp, please bring waterproof 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.


Contact Avery House Nature Center Manager, Nima Boyer at (541)-758-6198 or by email at