Cincinnati Site Tours

Whether you’re new to nature-based early learning, or you have years of experience, learning how other programs operate, touring their spaces, and spending time with staff is an incredibly valuable opportunity. Tours of local programs are a highlight of the in-person event, and space is limited. Register early to secure a spot!  

Site tours will take place on Saturday, July 30, and are available as an add-on to your in-person conference registration. Registration fee is $75. Lunch and transportation to and from the conference hotel are included with registration. In an effort to reduce waste, a beverage will not be provided with lunch. Please plan to bring your own water bottle; there will be opportunities to refill at our stops.


A special thank you to the University of Cincinnati ECE Online for sponsoring this field trip!




Little Schoolhouse in the Woods

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The benefits of nature and a holistic approach to early childhood are at the heart of Little Schoolhouse in the Woods. Lee and Jason Hamzy co-founded Little Schoolhouse in the Woods on their two-acre property neighboring Mt. Airy Forest in Cincinnati in order to share access to the woods with young people. Using a multidisciplinary approach, they co-teach and operate an outdoor early childhood education program that is student-led and immersed in nature. With a focus on social-emotional health, the students learn natural science through hands-on experiences that challenge and support their natural development.

Cincinnati Nature Center Nature Preschool

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The Cincinnati Nature Center’s Nature Preschool is a play- and project-based nature school inspired by the philosophies of Lev Vygotsky and Maria Montessori. Located on the grounds of the Cincinnati Nature Center, children have over 1,000 acres of trails and a Nature PlayScape to explore as part of their outdoor classroom. Preschoolers spend two-thirds of their time outdoors and one-third indoors in their one-room schoolhouse. In ten years, the preschool has not missed a single day of being outdoors with children. 

Cincinnati Nature Center's Nature Preschool was proudly awarded the Step Up to Quality Five-Star Rating by the Ohio Department of Education. 

In 2020, the Nature Center expanded its nature school programming to include opportunities for kindergarten through second-grade students. The K-2 Nature School has taken off, with sessions filling up for all grade levels. 

Arlitt Child Development Center & PlayScape at the University of Cincinnati

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Visit the award-winning Child Development Center at the University of Cincinnati's Arlitt Center for Education, Research, and Sustainability. The laboratory preschool builds curricula based on child development theories, applied research, highly experienced teachers' values, children's agency, connections to the natural world, and environmental ethics. The Arlitt Center serves as an early childhood education practicum site for students from many programs at the University of Cincinnati, a research center for faculty and students, and an observation and teacher training resource center for the community. 

The tour will feature the center's Classrooms, Children's Studio, and Nature Playscape.