Franklin Park Zoo
Boston Outdoor Preschool Network
We aim to open a tuition-free BOPN preschool at the Franklin Park Zoo in September 2024 with funding from Universal PreK, grants, and donations.
Our goal is to expand access to nature-based early childhood education. Natural Start Alliance reports: “...despite their safety and effectiveness, nature preschools are not equally available to all children. White children are overrepresented in nature preschools, [while] dual language learners and children with disabilities are underrepresented. Disparities in access to high-quality education are widespread across the education system in the United States, and nature-based programs have not been the exception. In addition, children of color have less access to nature than white children, pointing to yet further injustice in bringing the benefits of nature to all children.”
We consider it a moral obligation to serve all children, regardless of families’ ability to pay tuition. Currently, 30% of BOPN families are on full or partial scholarship; to expand access even more, our preschool at the zoo will be tuition-free through Universal PreK. We are delighted to collaborate with the Franklin Park Zoo, contributing to their aim to provide environmental education for low-income families in the surrounding neighborhood.
Projected start date: September 2024
Ages served: 3 and 4
Number of children: starting with 20, and eventually expanding to 40
Facilities: two 30-foot yurts located between the giraffes and gorillas, plus access to zoo exhibit buildings
Funding: Universal PreK (City of Boston), grants, and donations
We need YOUR support to open Boston’s first tuition-free nature preschool. Email Sarah.Besse@bopn.org to learn more about the project and to explore opportunities for collaboration. We would love to hear from you!