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Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool

Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool

Brooklyn Park Nature PreschoolLogo for Three Rivers Park District


Registration is for the entire school year, from September to May. Registrations will be accepted until classes fill; please keep in mind that classes fill quickly.

Phone and email

Abbey Pattison
Email Abbey Pattison

Program description

Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool is a state-licensed program designed for children ages 3 to 5. In our classes, children are immersed in hands-on activities that foster meaningful connections to their classmates, teachers, and the word around them.

Best practice and kindergarten readiness research is showing that children learn best when they have the opportunity to be hands-on with classroom materials and participate in small group activities with other children and a teacher. Inquiry-based learning methods teach children to ask questions and investigate and ultimately learn how to learn. We incorporate these practices every day and do our best to make sure we are using research-based teaching methods.


Our philosophy is based on providing a safe, nurturing, quality environment in which we can foster the social, emotional, physical, cognitive, artistic, literary and musical development of each child in our preschool program. We strongly value our natural environment and how important it is for children to have frequent access to meaningful experiences outdoors. Every child entrusted in our care is encouraged to explore, investigate, and learn about the world around them, as well as their own individuality.


We will keep you updated on what we are working on and what the children are learning through daily, weekly, and monthly communication methods. We will also have a parent bulletin board you can reference for copies of our calendar, newsletters, snack lists, and more.

A parent packet with more information will be sent out before the start of the school year.


We will be using Creative Curriculum and will do a variety of studies throughout the year. Each study will last approximately 3 to 6 weeks.

We focus on age-appropriate academic concepts while developing important social-emotional skills.

  • Math
  • Music
  • Literacy
  • Science
  • Art
  • Nature

At Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool, we value each opportunity our children have to play, use their imaginations, and explore the great big world.

Nature-based curriculum

This school year, a naturalist from Three Rivers Park District will join our teaching staff. Your child will have frequent access to the outdoors and experience daily adventures in nature.


The goals of our program are:

  • To increase self-esteem, independence, and confidence
  • To develop cognitive, motor, and social-emotional skills
  • To promote imaginative and creative play
  • To provide positive and meaningful experiences in the outdoors
  • To prepare each child for kindergarten using best practice methods


All children must be completely toilet trained by the first day of class (no pull-ups). Reasonable accommodations will be made for children with disabilities or other special needs.

Early childhood screening

We do not require your child be screened before they enroll in Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool. Once your child is enrolled in Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool, we partner with Osseo Area Schools to provide onsite screening. Please ask your teacher for more information.

Early childhood screening is required by the State of Minnesota and must be completed before starting kindergarten. It is recommended that a child be screened at age three so any potential problems can be found early.

More information on screening

Contact your district screening office for more information on early childhood screening

Osseo early childhood screening

Anoka-Hennepin early childhood screening

Robbinsdale early childhood screening

Daytime classes daily schedule

Activity Time Details
Outdoor free play 15 minutes Free play at the nature play area and playground. This is a time to practice social and physical development while also demonstrating an understanding of basic safety rules (and, of course, have fun and burn off energy!)
Outdoor lesson 30 minutes Hands-on learning through outdoor exploration and discovery. Children will take part in 2 to 3 unique outdoor lessons throughout the week. Outdoor learning is typically done in small groups of 5 to 7 students and supports scientific thinking, language and literacy development, and mathematical concepts.
Circle time 15 minutes Large group time to practice and reflect on social and emotional skills. May include a book or body awareness activity, or be used as a time to review classroom expectations and introduce new rules or concepts.
Transition time 15 minutes Transition from outdoors to indoors includes putting away outdoor clothing in cubbies. This is a time to practice managing transitions with self-control while promoting responsibility and independence within each child.
Snack 15 minutes Snacks are served family-style, which includes scooping from and passing a snack-filled bowl, and pouring from and passing a pitcher of water. This format encourages table manners and other social skills, as well as fine motor development.
Interest areas 45 minutes Student choice time with options in dramatic play, writing, art, math and manipulatives, building blocks, science, music, and loose parts. Teachers work with kids in groups and one-on-one during this time and may include a small group activity to further practice a specific skill.
Storytime and wrap-up 15 minutes Review and reinforce the concepts learned throughout the day using large group discussion and a complementary story.


Class offerings for 2017-18

September 11, 2017 to May 11, 2018. No classes November 20 through 24, December 20 through January 2 or March 26 through 30.

Days Time Age (in years) Cost per year Cost per month
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. 4 to 5, must be 4 by September 1, 2017 $1,737 $193
Mondays and Wednesdays 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. 3 to 5 $1,242 $138
Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. 3 to 5 $1,242 $138
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. 3 to 5 $1,242 $138



Registration is for the entire school year, from September to May. Registrations will be accepted until classes fill; please keep in mind that classes fill quickly.

Payment and scholarships

A non-refundable $40 registration fee is due at registration. You can either pay for the entire year at the time of registration or choose our monthly payment option. Scholarships are available and are based on household income. Contact our office for more information about applying for a scholarship, 763-493-8333.

Read more about youth scholarships


Abbey PattisonAbbey Pattison, director

I have been a teacher in this program for 12 years and this is my fourth school year as the director. I have a master's degree in occupational therapy from St. Catherine University and I worked full time for two years at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital before I transitioned to the director role here at Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool.

I live in Crystal with my husband Gabe and our one year old son Oliver. We enjoy the outdoors and spending time at our family cabin. I have always had a passion for children and I truly love the work I do.

Megan KelzenbergMegan Kelzenberg, lead teacher and naturalist-in-residence

I have worked as an educator for Three Rivers Park District for 8 years. I have developed and led programming in environmental education, outdoor recreation, and cultural history. During this time, I specialized in outdoor preschool offerings including drop-off programs, adult/child programs, and summer camps.

During my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and working on home improvement projects. I am excited to begin a new adventure as the naturalist-in-residence/lead teacher with Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool!

Sheri GulenchynSheri Gulenchyn, lead teacher

This is my second year as a lead teacher at Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool. I am married with two grown children. I enjoy solving sudoku puzzles and the Rubik's cube. I have been teaching for more than 13 years. I am very excited for this next chapter in my teaching career and I look forward to getting to know you and your children.

Wendy TuominenWendy Tuominen, early childhood special education teacher

My role at Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool is as an early childhood special education teacher with Osseo Area Schools. I have been in the early childhood profession for over 25 years. I have an undergrad and master's degree from the University of Minnesota, and a graduate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas. My hope is to move into educational leadership at some point in the future.

I have been happily married to my husband Brian for 34 years. We have two adult children, who attended and graduated from Osseo Area Schools. Some of my personal interests are watercolor painting, yoga, and hanging out with family and friends. This is a great program and I'm thrilled to be working here and with all of your children.

Shawna ArndtShawna Gass, lead teacher

This is my first year teaching at Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool and I am very excited for the new school year. I have been working in early childhood education for 15 plus years in various roles and have learned so much about children along the way. The past couple years I have been pursuing my master's degree from Concordia University in curriculum and instruction: early childhood education.

I have been quite busy wedding planning this summer and am looking forward to getting back to some normalcy. I love to do as much reading, biking, and outdoor activities as possible. My husband and I also enjoy spending time with friends and family, particularly my niece. I am truly looking forward to learning and growing with your children!

Contact us

Community Activity Center (Recreation and Parks Department)

5600 85th Ave. N.
Brooklyn Park, MN 55443
View map and directions to the Community Activity Center

Office hours (these are not the hours for open skate)

Sunday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

June through August office hours

Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, closed unless we have a scheduled event or activity.
Hours may vary based on events and activities.

Phone and email

Abbey Pattison
Email Abbey Pattison

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