The Sprouts curriculum puts nature and art at the forefront of our play.

We spend our extended play periods in our outdoor and indoor environments with our carefully curated selection of toys, materials, and art supplies. Our materials bring nature to our inside play and art to our outside play.

This extra experience with nature leads to an appreciation and connection that puts responsibility squarely on our human shoulders. And the frequent interaction with our art materials and expressive projects leads to creativity born of use.

This, in balance with our philosophy, promotes creativity and responsibility at Sprouts. Children that experience extended free play in nature grow an appreciation that


This curriculum was developed for Sprouts School by Caity & Ellen across five years of implementation. The seasons and natural events, the months of the year, and Midwest biomes all play into the activities and discussions, while still being flexible to accommodate the interests and social events of the group. Our outdoor exploration is supplemented with books, songs, and creative art projects that offer a deeper understanding of each natural event and focus.

seasons of study

In August we begin the school year discovering all the tiny things living right outside our door. One of our favorite activities is assisting the Monarch caterpillars from our pollinator garden, by providing a safe space for metamorphosis. When our vegetable garden and fruit trees are ripe and ready we learn more about harvest and the farm to table process. When the leaves begin to change, we focus on these changes brought on by the cooler weather and around December we take a closer look at our trees.

After our Winter Break, we discover all the changes that Winter brings. We explore ice and snow and how our natural areas are affected by the cold and frost. We watch for the bird migration and learn about their life cycle, and keep track of the interesting weather patterns of approaching Spring. Around Earth Day we explore ways to care for our earth and the resources it offers, and we finish the school year focus on the flowers blooming in our garden.

academic instruction

You may notice that there are several things that are not specifically covered in our Sprouts curriculum – namely academic skills. As Early Childhood Educators, we believe that childhood is a special time during which our core values take root. At no other point in life are humans so invested in the wonders of our Earth and at no other time do those wonders have the same impact. [Read more about the benefits of Nature School here.] Learning about life through discovery of nature is the foundation of childhood – and there is plenty of time for academics later. You can read more about this in our philosophy.