Playing with Intent

Nature Immersion + Food
Pre-K Cooperative

CNGF is pleased to support the development of a cooperative arrangement amongst families wanting to instill a lifelong connection with nature in their young children!

We offer the opportunity for families to enter into a cooperative arrangement for the care of their children. With the support of CNGF’s teachers and college interns trained in fields that include early childhood development, ecology, environmental science and landscape architecture, the members of this co-op arrangement will share responsibility for the care of all children. CNGF will inspire co-op members to facilitate the children’s engagement with sensory experiences, active and free play, indigenous stories and connections to local plants and animals, art, and growing and cooking with edible plants.

Lessons for classes are selected from a collection of 50 lessons that were prepared by the CNGF curriculum committee for teaching pre-K teachers. Plants grown, prepared and eaten are selected from these Playing with Intent lessons, which are based on the CNGF Food Pyramid. They are comprised from each of the six plant groups for conservation, carbon neutrality and the thriving of our local plant communities and regional ecosystems services. Foods prepared are plant-based vegetarian or vegan. Allergens made known to us will not be served.


New lessons are added on a weekly basis. Here is a sampling of our Pre-K lessons:

Movement Activity
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Stretching
  • Mindfulness Activity
  • Short Movement Activity – Stretch to Refocus
Garden Activity
  • Seeding
  • Harvesting
  • Planting Cuttings
  • Weeding
  • Exploring – Collecting Seeds, Fallen Flowers, Fallen Leaves
  • Compost
  • Harvested from Garden
  • Prepared at the Garden
  • Pre-prepared
  • Kid-prepared Individual Snacks
Play Movement Activity
  • Hide and Seek
  • Relay Race
  • Tag
  • Finger Painting with Herbal Paints
  • Painting – Flour-based Paint
  • Play Dough
  • Seed Recycled Paper
  • Documentation Books
Spoken Word
  • Song
  • Chant
  • Story
Native Plant and Animal Relationship 
  • Oak Trees and Scrub Jays
  • Linear Leaf Milkweed and Monarch Butterfly 
  • Elderberry and 60 Species of Birds
  • Buckeye and Butterflies
Plant Uses

Class Details

  • Each four-week session begins on the first Monday of each month
  • 9:30am-12:30pm – Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • 12 students per class, maximum
  • 4-5 year-old students
  • One parent/guardian to attend periodically
  • Classes held outdoors in our ELSEE Garden (Environmental Laboratory for Sustainability and Ecological Education)
  • Proof of vaccination required for parents, or weekly negative COVID test. No masks required. These rules are subject to change based on new COVID variants.


Per four-week session, paid up to three months in advance

  • 3 classes per week: $450
  • 2 classes per week: $300
  • 1 class per week: $150


Register for four-week sessions up to three months in advance.

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Interested in Early Childhood Education Training - Certificate Coursework and Practicum?

Through our year-long certification program, teachers will learn the 26 physical and pedagogical components of an ELSEE (The Environmental Lab for Sustainability and Ecological Education)- and USGBC-certified outdoor classroom; they will learn to build, maintain, and teach 50 “Playing with Intent: Nature Immersion + Food” lesson plans in an ELSEE-certified outdoor classroom, and will learn how to attract community volunteers and funding to help create and maintain their teaching garden. Teachers who complete the certification will have the skills to design, create, maintain, and teach in an ELSEE-certified outdoor classroom.

Learn more here.