About Bluestone Nature Programs
Letting children and curiosity lead the way.
At Bluestone Nature Programs, the outdoors is not just our classroom, it is also our teacher. Using best practices in early childhood education, evidence-based approaches aligned with a nature-based pedagogy, and the magic of innate human connection to nature, we honor the whole child.
By providing direct experience with nature we allow children to follow their curiosity, share in wonder, build confidence, and develop a love and appreciation for the natural world. By nature, outdoor experiences are sensory-rich, allow for freedom of movement, and inspire inquiry and imagination - all of which are crucial to healthy development for children. We follow an emergent curriculum that weaves seasonal experiences with intentional activities that nurture cognitive, social/emotional, physical, language, and spiritual development, unique to every child.
With village-making at our core, children in Bluestone Nature Programs foster connections to their school, natural communities, and the greater Port Jervis community. Through the lens of nature immersion, we deepen bonds with the land and each other, across the generations.
Bluestone Nature Programs is a project of Among the Ferns: Nature Connection for Budding Naturalists. Our Founding Director, Emily Woodmansee, is a local naturalist and nature-based educator with a passion for connection children and their families to the wonders of nature. Emily moved to Shohola, PA after years of working in nature-based early childhood education and began building community through her nature play and learning classes. After having her daughter, Emily's focus centered around nature play for infants and toddlers. It was this group of class participants who rallied for and supported the founding of Bluestone Nature Programs! You can read more about Emily's professional experience here.
Bluestone Nature Programs opened in the fall of 2023 in Shohola. Our name celebrates our founding Place - Shohola, PA. A large glacier deposited bluestone in Shohola Glen, and many Shohola homes and business feature bluestone in their construction. The Lenni Lenape, the Indigenous Host Nation of what is now known as Shohola, refer to the glacial bluestone deposit as the Shohola Stone or Peace Stone, inspiring the name Shohola which means "Place of Peace".
Meet Our Mentors
Mission & Vision
Bluestone Nature Programs fosters deep and meaningful nature connection, inspires sense of place, and cultivates an inclusive community rooted in the outdoors through nature-based learning. Guided by child-led learning through play and seasonal changes in nature, we embrace the natural world as our teacher while stewarding our nature neighborhood.
Children deserve a whole-child approach to learning that centers child-led play and exploration, ample time spent outside, and a safe and loving environment. Mentors focus on building trusting relationships with the children and approach curriculum through close observation of play.
Bluestone Nature Programs
Port Jervis, NY
Bluestone Nature Programs plays and learns on the unceded land of our Host Nation peoples, the Munsee Lenape and Mohican. We offer deep condolences to the past, present, and future Indigenous peoples who experienced harm at the hands of colonizers and for the systemic racism they still experience today. We promise to do our best as allies and support our Host Nation and all Indigenous peoples with our actions. We recognize this statement is just the first step and commit ourselves to continue to grow and work towards reparations and healing.