Preschool Naturalists (3-5)

Ages 3 – 5

Summer 2018 dates: any week, 6/25 – 8/31

Our preschool naturalists program is offered in both half – day and full – day options, and runs all ten weeks of our regular summer camp season. This program utilizes our early – learner room within our lodge and is supervised by knowledgeable staff with prior experience in the care and education of preschool – aged children. Any interested families are encouraged to register early as enrollment space is limited in our preschool program and sessions fill quickly once our registration is open.

Please note: all participants in our preschool program must be fully potty – trained.

Half – Day Program

9am – 12pm

(drop-off as early as 8:30am / pick-up between 12-12:30pm)

Our half-day program is an introductory session for campers who are first experiencing extended time outside of the home. Our integrative and sensory-based programs and activities offer endlessly amusing and positive outdoor experiences as we encourage our early learners to take their first steps into the natural world. Each day will feature a different natural theme and include story time, simple games and crafts, and an outdoor excursion to the forest, stream, our treehouse, or pioneer cabin. This program is great for building early outdoor confidence.

Registration fees (per week): $125 members / $150 non-members

Full – Day Program

9am – 4pm

(drop-off as early as 8:30am / pick-up between 4pm-5pm)

For campers who have not yet completed kindergarten, but are ready to graduate beyond our half-day program, our full-day experience includes an afternoon rest time, and the opportunity to dive deeper into the day’s adventures. Campers will enjoy extra exploratory time outdoors and additional games and sensory crafts to expand upon the days theme for a more detailed look into the outdoors. A great option for your budding biologist!

Registration fees: $250 members / $275 non-members


From our Preschool Parents:

“Our child attend for several weeks. The great counselors and variety of activities, even when it rained a lot, were impressive. He really liked his counselors. Their attentiveness, enthusiasm, and creativity made him excited to go to camp every day. In second place, the visits with the live animals were a big hit.”

I love that I know so many of the employees who’ve been there for a long time. I trust CNC. I also love that my little ones come home understanding and using words related to ecology and other types of science, and really understanding how the natural world works to some degree.

(All testimonials are collected from our 2017 summer camp parent survey, and are used with parent permission.)


Frequently Asked Question : “My camper is 5, and during the school year attended full-day programs. Which camp should he/she attend, the full – day preschool program or the explorer camp program?”

We currently accept 5-year-olds in both our preschool program as well as our explorer camp program, however, there are some key differences in the structure of these programs that may make one program more suitable than the other to your campers individual needs. Currently, our preschool program maintains a staff to camper ratio of 1:6 so our educators can give ample attention to campers who may still rely heavily on adult assistance for their everyday needs. In addition, a rest and quiet time is offered each afternoon and the pace of its programs is considerate of campers still transitioning to a full-day of activity, (frequent bathroom breaks included). In contrast, the explorer program is perhaps better suited to 5-year-olds that are more active and are becoming more independent in managing their daily needs. Our staff to camper ratio in the explorer program is 1:8 and campers in the explorer program also travel off – site to Taughannock Park twice a week for our swim program, where 5-year-olds may enjoy the shallow area of the swim beach under supervision of park lifeguards. The excitement of park visits, in addition to a full schedule of programs without rest time, make explorer camp a great option for energetic campers ready to tackle the full summer camp experience.