Hartley Nature Preschool

Immediate Openings for 2022-23

We have full day and afternoon half day openings for immediate start for 3-5 year old children. See here for more information and an application and here for tuition rates.

2023-24 Preschool Year

Applications for the the 2023-24 preschool year will be available in January on our website.

Our Program

Hartley Nature Preschool’s mission is to inspire life-long connections with nature through education, play, and exploration while supporting the whole child’s development and preparing children for school.

HNP is a preschool program that:

  • Serves 3-5 year old children*
  • Emphasizes learning through playing outdoors
  • Supports the development of the whole child
  • Provides children with the chance to develop a lifelong connection with nature
  • Helps children prepare for kindergarten
  • Offers full and half day classes
  • Offers a Tues/Thurs AM class just for three and young four year olds!
  • Operates September-May
  • Is licensed by the MN Department of Human Services as a child care center
  • Has a 4 star Parent Aware Rating!

*Children must be three years old by September 1st and fully toilet-trained to attend preschool.

Our Facility

Hartley Nature Preschool (HNP) is located at Hartley Nature Center in Duluth, MN.

The preschool classrooms, full of lovely natural light and age-appropriate furnishings and materials, are located in the nature center. The nature playscape (natural playground) is located just out the backdoor of the nature center. The preschool also uses the 660 acres of city-owned Hartley Park for learning and play! The Hartley Nature Center building expansion will allow us to offer Monday-Friday morning and Monday-Thursday afternoon classes in addition to our current offerings for the 2022-23 preschool year!

What is a nature preschool?

A nature preschool is a:

  • Licensed child-care facility

Where the emphasis is on:

  • Going outside daily in all (safe) weather
  • Learning through play and nature play
  • Child-directed, adult-supported activities
  • Seasonal, place-based curriculum
  • Whole-child development

Information from Green Hearts, Inc.

HNP is a 4 star Parent Aware rated program!

Parent Aware is Minnesota’s voluntary rating system for early childhood programs, including those in centers, homes, schools, and churches. Programs that participate in the Parent Aware rating program at any star level are going above and beyond the basic licensing requirements by taking additional trainings and developing curriculum and family support systems that research shows lead to children’s success in future schooling. Higher levels of rating also mean more state and county scholarship support is available to help each family pay for preschool! Learn more about what the star levels mean: http://parentaware.org/learn/stars-defined/