Preschool Spaces Now Available!

Preschool Spaces Now Available!

We have had an incredible outpouring of requests and in response we have expanded our preschool to offer two groups this Fall.

At the moment we have several spaces available all four days for 4-and 5-year-olds and two spots on Monday and Wednesday for three-year-olds. Interested parents can call our office for more information or fill out our registration form and we will be in touch.

We are available for in-person tours this week and orientation is Sunday, September 13th. This summer we confirmed that our added COVID-related safety precautions didn’t deter our campers from sinking deeply into the experience and having a great time, we expect preschool will be the same and can’t wait to get started.

The Fall semester begins September 16, 2020 

About Ithaca forest preschool

Welcome to Our Wooded World!

With some curiosity, exploration and guidance the seeds of connection can grow, rooting us to our natural surroundings and creating a life-long bond between us and the Earth. The social-emotional skills we teach are among the most important skills your child needs for school and for life. Our curriculum prepares children for kindergarten and beyond!

Program Hours

Monday through Thursday, 9am-12pm.

Ithaca Forest Preschool is a community of learners. The group bonds through shared challenges and experiences, and from getting to know each other for a whole school year or more. At this age, consistency is important. For these reasons, four days for a full year is our standard and most discounted, option. If you are hesitant to enroll for this option, please feel free to contact us to discuss it.

If four days a week for the full school year isn’t right for your family, we offer two day (M/W or Tu/Th) enrollment. Enrollment on a trimester-basis is available if space allows.

Program Location

4-H Acres 418 Lower Creek Road, Ithaca, 14850 

    Enrollment Requirements

    • Children are eligible to enroll if they will be 3 by September 1st and will not reach the age of 6 before January 1st.
    • Children must be out of diapers and needing only minimal assistance with toileting.
    • Because we learn in an outdoor classroom without walls, children must be able to stay with the group and follow instructions most of the time.

    COVID-19 Procedures and Protocols

    COVID-19 Procedures and Protocols

    Following are some of the procedures and protocols we will be following as we begin the school year. You can download a PDF copy of this information on our resources page.

    Ithaca Forest Preschool COVID-19 Policies and Protocol

    Physical Distancing

    By sending your child to Ithaca Forest Preschool, you attest that your household is abiding by social distancing guidelines until such time as it is no longer deemed necessary by the Tompkins County Health Department. All members of your household:

    1. Stay at least 6 feet apart from people outside of your household or close family.
    2. Avoid groups, crowded places, and mass gatherings.
    3. Wear a face mask when in public places shared by the public.

    Let our office know of if anyone in your household may have been exposed to COVID-19.  Please contact us if you are unsure how these guidelines may apply in your specific situation.

    Participant Illness Policy

    Protecting the health of our families is our highest priority. We have modified our Participant illness policy in response to new Health Department guidelines. If your child has any of the following symptoms associated with COVID-19, not otherwise explained (for example, by allergies, a recent physical injury, etc), then they may be excluded from camp at the discretion of our Health Screener and/or Camp Director. If so, please contact your child’s pediatrician for guidance regarding testing and isolation.

    1. Fever of 100F or above
    2. Persistent Cough
    3. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    4. Chills
    5. Repeated shaking with chills
    6. Muscle pain
    7. Headache
    8. Sore throat
    9. Newly acquired loss of taste or smell
    10. Skin rash

    Your child may return to preschool after having the above symptoms if they have been:

    1. Symptom-free for 24 hours AND Fever-free for 72 hours with either:
      • Letter from pediatrician that it is safe for the child to return to camp (telehealth appointment is acceptable) OR
      • Negative COVID-19 test result; OR
      • 10 days have passed since onset of symptoms

    Your child may NOT come to preschool if, in the last 14 days, anyone in household:

    1. Has been confirmed positive for COVID-19
    2. Has been tested for COVID-19 due to suspected exposure and is awaiting test results
    3. Was under quarantine for suspected exposure to COVID-19

    Drop Off and Pick Up

    Please monitor your child’s health and take note of any symptoms of COVID-19 listed above.

    Drop-off and pick up will be as contact-free as possible with caregivers staying in their cars with drive-up drop-off. We understand this is preschool and if you need to exit the car to assist your child, we ask you to please maintain 6 feet distance between other people and wear a mask.

    Health Screening at Camp

    All participants and staff will undergo daily health screenings. Screenings will include questions including and not limited to: symptoms of COVID-19, the occurrence of a positive test of COVID-19, and the proximity to people of suspected or positive cases of COVID-19. All answers to screenings will be reviewed and recorded daily by staff.

    Daily Health Screening Questions

    Caregivers will be asked these questions about their child. Any child who gets a YES to any of the questions, not otherwise explained (for example, by allergies, a recent physical injury, etc) will NOT be permitted at camp and will only be able to return per the COVID-19 Participant Illness Policy.

    • Have you or your child experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
    • Have a fever of 100F or above now or in the preceding 72 hours?
    • Have a cough?
    • Have a sore throat?
    • Have any muscle aches?
    • Have any difficulty breathing/shortness of breath?
    • Have recent loss of taste or smell?
    1. Have you or your child taken any Tylenol, Ibuprofen or another NSAID in the last 24 hours for fever or unexplained muscle pain?
    2. Is your entire household in full compliance with the participant Illness Policy? Including, for the last 14 days:
    3. Has anyone in your household been tested positive for COVID-19 due to suspected exposure and is awaiting test results
    4. Is anyone in your family under quarantine for suspected exposure to COVID-19
    5. Has anyone in your household traveled outside of Tompkins County in the last 14 days? This answer is only used if contact tracing is later triggered. (If yes, where did they go and when?)

    A staff member will take your child’s temperature with non-contact thermometer and record th temperature in Health Check Form

    1. Any person with a temperature above 100F will not be permitted at preschool
    2. Children will use hand sanitizer or handwashing stations immediately upon the grounds and throughout the preschool day.

    Changes to the Preschool Day and what your child may experience

    1. Staff are required to wear face coverings at all times. Preschoolers are required to bring a face covering that they are able to put on by themselves. They will not be required to wear masks unless a staff person determines that social distancing can not be maintained for a specific time period. We may also ask children to wear masks until all members of their cohort understand the distancing ground rules.
    2. We will be in very small cohorts but whenever possible, we will maintain six feet distance from other individuals.
    3. Program supplies, bathrooms, and any touched surfaces will be sanitized regularly according to Health Department standards.
    4. Children will be asked to sanitize or wash their hands upon arrival and departure as well as other times throughout the day including after bathroom use, before and after eating and after touching program supplies.
    5. During lunch and snack, children will not be permitted to share food. During meal times, children will sit 6 feet apart.

    When Physical Distancing is Not Possible

    There are times when physical distancing will not be possible as children may need assistance with tasks such as opening lunch containers, changing their clothes or may need to be consoled using touch. There may also be moments where staff are required to apply first aid. In these circumstances, our staff will be wearing masks and will be following consistent hand washing/sanitizing protocols between each interaction.

    COVID-19 Exposure Response

    If we have a confirmed positive test of someone who has been at preschool in the last seven days, Ithaca Forest Preschool will follow our Communicative Disease Plan per the Center for Disease control with the following plan:

    1. Communicate immediately with Tompkins County Health Department, parents and members of our staff
    2. Discourage staff, participants and their families from gathering or socializing anywhere.
    3. Maintain confidentiality of the participant or staff member who tested positive as required by the  Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
    4. Clean and disinfect all areas that could have been exposed to COVID-19.
    5. Prepare for guidance from Health Department which could entail:
    • Preschool closure for 24-48 hours. This initial short-term dismissal allows time for the local health officials to determine the COVID-19 situation impacting camp.
    • Quarantine of all children from the positive person’s cohort for at least 14 days
    • Preschool closure for 14 days
    • Preschool closure for a longer timeframe

    Questions or Concerns?

    We encourage you to reach out to us with your questions or concerns. We are doing our best to stay up to speed with new information as quickly as possible and will do our best to keep families up to date if changes occur.

    Free Forest Play Day May 8th!

    Free Forest Play Day May 8th!

    Parents and children are invited to join Ithaca Forest Preschool for a Saturday morning of exploring, stories and fire at our beloved Trillium Camp located at 4-H Acres (418 Lower Creek Road, Ithaca, NY). You will learn more about Ithaca Forest Preschool’s teaching practices and get to meet our staff!

    We believe the seeds of a deep connection to nature are in each of us from the time we are born, and we look forward to learning and playing together with your children!

    Come get a feel for our preschool program!

    When: Friday, May 8th, 9am – Noon
    Where: Trillium Camp at 4-H Acres, 418 Lower Creek Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850

    RSVP requested to or use the form below.

    Please bring water and snacks and clothing that can get wet, dirty or muddy. A change of clothes is always a good idea too!

    For any other questions, please call our office at 607-272-2292.

    The Forest Preschool Team

    Open House Registration

    Emergency Contact Information

    Please include the contact information of an adult other than yourself who can be an emergency contact during our programs

    Additional Information

    Is this your first time attending one of our programs?
    Do you give permission for the participant’s likeness, in photo or video, to be used for Primitive Pursuits or Cornell Cooperative Extension promotional/educational media? *
    Would you like to be added to our email lists?
    By signing this form I agree to/give permission for my child to participate in Primitive Pursuits programs of Cornell Cooperative Extension & 4-H Youth Development. I give permission for Cornell Cooperative Extension staff and emergency medical personnel to give me/my child medical treatment if necessary. I give permission for Cornell Cooperative Extension staff to transport my child. I give permission for my/my child’s likeness, in photo or video, to be used for Primitive Pursuits or Cornell Cooperative Extension promotional/educational media. I agree to receive information about future Primitive Pursuits programs. I give permission for my child to use sharp tools and tend fires with adult supervision. I understand that there are inherent dangers in these and other outdoor educational activities and furthermore that I/my child will likely be getting wet, muddy, smelly, and bug bitten. I understand that I must alert Primitive Pursuits staff to any medical conditions or allergies that I/my child may have, and I hereby assert that I have done so to the best of my ability. I hereby apply for myself/my child to participate in Primitive Pursuits to be conducted by the designated Cornell Cooperative Extension Association and acknowledge as follows: I fully understand and acknowledge that there are inherent risks and dangers in my/my child’s participation in the Primitive Pursuits program and my/my child’s participation in said activity or activities and use of any equipment related to such activities may result in injury, illness or death and damage to personal property. I understand other participants, accidents, forces of nature or other causes may cause these risk and dangers and I hereby accept these risk and dangers. I am/my child is in good health and is at or above the minimum age required to participate in this activity and is able to participate in any strenuous physical activity associated therewith. I herewith release, forever discharge and waive any right of recovery or subrogation against the Cornell Cooperative Extension Association listed below, Cornell University and their respective officers, directors, trustees, employees, members and volunteers, from any and all liability whatsoever for any illness or injury, including death or damage to or loss of my personal property that I may sustain while I or my child is participating in this program. This shall be binding on my heirs, successors, assigns, administrators and executors. Any claims or disputes arising out of my/my child's participation in the activity shall first be submitted to arbitration and/or be venued in the Supreme Court of the State of New York of the County where the Association is located, the choice of which shall be at the sole discretion of CCE. I have read the above and by signing it I agree it is my intention to participate/have my child participate in the indicated activity and I understand and accept the risks involved. By signing this form I also assert that:I have read the entire form; I understand all of the terms and conditions stated within; and that I agree to all of them. I am at least twenty-one (21) years of age and I am the legal parent/guardian authorized to sign this document on behalf of any child named herein. *

    OPEN HOUSE & Play Day March 28th

    OPEN HOUSE & Play Day March 28th

    Forest Play Days are a great way to have a look into whether a forest preschool might be right for your family! Get out into the woods and experience total nature immersion.

    Parents and children birth to age five are invited to join the Ithaca Forest Preschool for a day of stories, stalking, wild tea making & sipping and more as we find our place in the woods at our beloved Trillium Camp at 4-H Acres. Bring water and snacks; there may be opportunities to cook on the fire!

    This event is FREE with advance RSVP  

    Saturday, March 28, 2020
    10:00AM – 2:00PM

    Call 607-272-2292 for more information.

    Preschool Starts on Monday!

    Preschool Starts on Monday!

    We can’t wait to get started! Trillium Camp is quiet in the moments between summer camp and our Preschool season but everything is ready and waiting for our preschoolers to arrive on Monday. If you haven’t already done so, download this year’s Preschool Handbook available in the resources tab. You will also find a quick calendar reference in the same tab.

    Office Location:
    Cornell Cooperative Extension, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY 14850
    607-272-2292 | email Us

    Preschool Location: 
    4-H Acres, 418 Lower Creek Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850

    Ithaca Forest Preschool is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County and is run by Primitive Pursuits, a 4-H Program.