About Duck's Nest Preschools


Play and Relationships

During a child’s first five years of life, the foundations for communication, socialization, critical thinking, and self-esteem are developed. These skills are important building blocks for a happy and healthy life to follow. Our philosophy is strongly rooted in social-emotional development because relationships and bonds are critical to a child’s learning and development. Play is a major foundation in our curriculum and philosophy. Through play, indoors and outdoors, children conquer their fears, experiment with roles, build resilience, acquire critical-thinking skills,  learn to solve problems creatively and develop compassion and empathy. Opportunities to develop mastery of those skills affirm self-esteem and identity. 

Through play and exploration, children make connections about themselves and the world around them.


Duck’s Nest follows a play-based philosophy that supports a child directed Emergent Curriculum. Through observation and collaboration with children, we are able to build classroom experiences responsive to their interests with materials and interactions that extend children’s thinking. Each day is an opportunity for your child to learn, socially interact, take risks, research, and experiment. Through free choice, open-ended play, and exploration, children make connections between themselves and the world around them. We intentionally design our indoor and outdoor environments to support social-emotional, linguistic, motor, cognitive and creative development. Our approach honors and respects the child’s play and affirms their contributions to our learning community.



We believe the role of the teacher is to forge deep, caring connections, observe, respond, and document the learning and development of children. Teachers respond to children in their play with curriculum that supports their social, emotional, physical, and language development by extending children’s ideas with interactions, materials, and environments that fuel the natural curiosity of children. By setting a daily routine with long periods of uninterrupted play, our teachers are able to provide guidance around conflict resolution and conduct important observations that inform their practice. Our value of anti-bias education, which affirms individual backgrounds inclusive of culture, race, ethnicity, family structure, ability, gender identity, and expression, allows teachers to forge a strong family-school connection and partner with families about their child’s development. 

Experimenting with cause and effect
Fun on the slide

Children and Families

Children are researchers and active participants in their own learning through sharing ideas and planning with their peers and teachers. In our program, they develop a love of learning through playful, warm interactions, routines, and emergent projects indoors and outdoors. We value the whole child, inclusive of their family and community.

The family is the bridge between child and teacher, completing the home-school connection. Our parents actively collaborate with the teachers in their child’s development, in a two-way communication cycle that includes daily check-ins, conferences, and weekly emails in order to build a strong partnership.

We also actively build a community with parents to provide a system of peer support, as well as to build connections with the wider Duck’s Nest community. We invite families to get involved with our parent association, which collaborates with Duck’s Nest around community building and philanthropic outreach efforts. We encourage parents to join us when possible... read a book, play an instrument, plant flowers in the garden. Children feel great pride when they see their parents involved at school.


We believe that the role of the environment sets the tone for our program and reflects our values. Our indoor and outdoor environments are intentionally planned to be warm and inviting to both children and families. You will find cozy soft areas for quiet play, exploration of books and writing, and areas for respite and relaxation. We also support active and curious play with natural materials, and opportunities for construction, gross motor, risk-taking, sensory, and fantasy play. To make learning visible, children’s processes are documented by the teachers and displayed in the classroom. We plan our environments to honor all children and families and reflect the diversity of our school and community.

Duck's Nest is committed to creating a school climate that raises consciousness in our community to be dedicated to and responsible for our global environment. By nurturing a relationship with nature, we help children and adults to be comfortable with being outdoors, gardening, and with animals, and repurposing and recycling of materials to be mindful of the resources we use and the footprint we make. Bring natural elements into your classroom, and explore outside. Our aim is to instill children with an appreciation and understanding of our planet by exposing them to the natural environment.

We plan our environments to honor all children and families and reflect the diversity of our school and community.