Magnolia Nature School

For many years, Camp McDowell has housed a summer camp where thousands of children come to learn more about the world around them and what God is calling them to be. For over twenty years, McDowell Environmental Center and Farm School have brought school children from around the southeast to learn more about the wonders of nature and their connections to it.

McDowell is now creating an opportunity for preschoolers in the local community to attend an all-day, nature-based preschool on the Camp McDowell site. Magnolia Nature Preschool will accept twelve students for a Summer Day Camp experience for the month of June. The cost for the 5 week program is $600 and it will be five days a week from 8-5:00 each day.

The fall preschool program will begin accepting applications now, with first priority for family members of Camp McDowell staff and members of St Mary’s in Jasper. All local families who are interested, please apply! A deposit of $150.00 will be required with the application. The deposit will be returned if your child is on the waiting list.

So what is Nature-based preschool? It is a growing trend across the country of realizing that good old fashioned playing outdoors teaches children so much about socialization, kindergarten readiness, and provides a great background for later science, math and engineering learning. Preschools are realizing the importance of allowing inquiry based learning to start at an early age. This is a child centered, yet adult guided, exciting style of learning. It is the goal of Magnolia Nature Preschool to have the majority of the day spent outside playing in sandboxes, exploring trails (with grownups of course), visiting the Farm School animals, and even wading in shallow streams and making mud pies!

Magnolia Nature Preschool will follow the guidelines set out by the state of Alabama to promote kindergarten readiness. The school will follow the same school calendar as the Winston County School System. Registration information and applications can by contacting Madeleine Pearce at or by calling 205-792-1969.