The Nursery School Story

In 2013, the Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program brought together two men who spent their entire professional lives educating and supporting young children and their families. Brett Dabb and Matthew Hebard shared two passions, teaching young children and the outdoors. When asked to visually represent their metatheory of education, both men drew a picture of children outdoors exploring, investigating and learning among the trees, birds, animals and rivers. Brett and Matthew connected instantly, decided to partner together, and committed to opening Colorado’s first completely all-outdoor, nature-based preschool.

Both men spent the next two years studying and researching outdoor education and nature-based learning as part of their Administration, Leadership and Policy Master’s program at the University of Colorado at Denver (UCD). With a concentration on Early Childhood Education, this graduate degree has further bolstered Brett and Matt’s commitment to educating young children and the importance of providing opportunities for them to learn in and from their natural environment.

To further their professional development, Brett and Matt attended Cedarsong Nature School’s teacher training program in Washington State in 2014. More recently, the two men just returned from the United Kingdom where they participated in a level 3 forest school teacher training program. Within the year, Brett and Matt will compile a portfolio and return to Britain to complete their final assessment and obtain their forest school educator certification.

Over the course of the last two years, Brett and Matt have also been working with the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) to create a license for outdoor preschools. There currently is not a license for these types of programs. Through hard work and dedication, The Nursery School will be Colorado’s first licensed outdoor preschool starting May 7th, 2018, as part of a six month pilot program!

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