What's Working? Cincinnati's First Nature Preschool

Campers catch fish at the Rowe Woods nature center. But they're not fishing for food. Instructor Tisha Luthy says they're nourishing their minds.

"So children are able to see the different stages of the frogs and tadpoles and actually hold that, and when they're older and learning that, they can pull from those real experiences," Luthy said.

The Cincinnati Nature Center is launching the area's first nature-focused preschool this fall. For three days a week and three hours per day students will learn the fundamentals, inside and outside the classroom.

"What stand us apart is that we go outside every day. If it's raining, we put on our rain boots and raincoats and are out exploring nature in that weather," Luthy said.

"That's why the national initiative to limit recess in a school day, for instance, is so counter-productive in terms of healthy child development. Children need that opportunity to explore on their own," said Executive Director Bill Hopple.

Hopple says that the Cincinnati Nature Center created the preschool not only to foster green minds, but also preserve the green world around us.

"The sense of wonder gets developed by children in the natural world. They understand that they're not the only organisms in the universe by seeing, bats, snakes, fish, realize there are other living things on this planet," Hopple said.

Luthy couldn't be happier watching her little tadpoles turn into frogs.

"For me it's a win-win. To work with young children has always been my dream, and then to be outside, that's who I am, getting dirty, digging in the dirt. You know I remember as a kid always coming home filthy. I'm very lucky to be doing what I do," Luthy said.

If you want to make your little explorer's dreams come true, there are still open spots for September.

- Stephanie Woods