Unitarian Universalist Society presents:

UUS Nature Preschool

Coming Fall of 2024

Why choose UUS Nature Preschool?

UUS Nature Preschool is an enrichment program designed to provide a natural, outdoor experience for preschool children in the Iowa City corridor. Children are immersed in the elements of nature which becomes the classroom. Children explore, discover and learn in a small group through the guidance of their teacher. Our convenient location is right off of Oakdale Blvd in Coralville.

*Coming Fall of 2024*

How is our preschool unique?

UUS Nature Preschool strives to provide an Iowa City nature preschool option to the Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty area that allows children to thrive in an outdoor, play-based environment while inviting children to pre-academic disciplines curated based on student wonder, readiness, and interests.

With a sustainably built, eco-conscious building nestled on our wooded grounds, our preschool classroom provides a safe place to play and create. The majority of our preschoolers’ day will be spent enjoying our outdoor classroom, giving students access to gardens, an outdoor stage, groomed trails, and a natural playscape right outside the classroom windows.

Excellent Facilities

Nature Campus

Play-based Curriculum

Caring Staff

Get a glimpse of what a typical day is like

We will model being environmentally conscious people and our attention to diversity will be grounded in sharing our love for all people and the responsibility to do no harm. With a joyful focus on sharing how wonderful the natural world is, and our collective responsibility to care for it and its inhabitants, much of our school day will be spent outdoors in nature.

  • 9:00 Free play during arrivals
  • 9:30 Welcome circle and gear up to head outdoors
  • 10:00-11:30 Exploration, story, and group activities outside
  • 11:30-12:15 Lunch
  • 12:15-2:00 More outside time
  • 2:00 Pick-up

*Extended Before and After care is under consideration. Please indicate if this is of interest to you when joining the waitlist.

Nature-based play

Spend our days outdoors

What will your child learn?

Intellectual Benefits

  • Opportunities for discovery, creativity, problem-solving, and STEM education
  • Learn by doing
  • Experiment with ideas
  • Think, Question, and Make Hypotheses

Physical Benefits

  • Absorb vitamin D
  • Strengthen immune system
  • Enhance overall physical fitness: balance, stability, proprioceptive motor skills, body manipulation

Emotional Benefits

  • Calm hyperactivity
  • Enhance sense of peace
  • Increase nurturing qualities
  • Imagine and create
  • Self-regulate

Social Benefits

  • Interact with new and different playmates
  • Play alone and connect with others
  • Learn to share
  • Collaborate
  • Develop empathy
  • Problem solve

Why a preschool at the Unitarian Universalist Society?

Our diverse spiritual congregation built and moved to our Coralville campus in 2017. Our goal was to create an environmentally conscious building (notice our solar panels and bio retention cells in front of our building) that allowed a close connection to nature. In designing this space, we had families in mind to provide a welcoming space for children to also explore the benefits of nature. This is why our classrooms are so accessible with our outdoor classroom space. After taking several years to settle in to our space, and the recent acquisition of a dedicated Director of Lifespan Religious Education, we are finally able to expand our treasure of a facility to the greater public through our UUS Nature Preschool Program.

Please note that while our Unitarian Universalist teachings are deeply in tune with respect to our environment and the greater natural world, our preschool is not religious and our focus is on being kind neighbors to each other who value diversity, environmental consciousness, and a love of staying curious. People of all backgrounds are welcome to attend.

We believe that each person matters and is capable of great good. We hope to teach the young people in our care that they matter, they are whole, they are beautiful, and they are loved. We will greatly praise the effort and the progress that we witness in them so that they learn that learning and growth are central to life. We will share a love of learning, of reading, and of striving to be our best selves while being stewards of the interconnected web of life with them.

While this belief is rooted in the Unitarian Universalist teachings, our nature preschool is not religious-based and people of all backgrounds are welcome to attend. We will teach that all humans are siblings in the same human family and should be treated with the same love and care, regardless of race, nationality, socio-economic status, sexual orientation and/or gender expression. We will choose books and activities that celebrate the diversity of our world. We will honor the differences in our students. We will intentionally celebrate religious diversity and create our lessons in order to honor all of the world religions, including atheism.

We will offer excellent and affordable early education for children. Education will be grounded in Unitarian Universalist principles and the mission of the UUS. As a ministry of our UU church, our nature preschool would help prepare the youngest members of our community for kindergarten and to thrive as individuals who will grow to build a fair and peaceful world. We all find and make meaning in different ways; the children in our community deserve to come together and learn how to find and make meaning of their lives and the world around them.

Tuition is $850 per month. Tuition is offered at $750 per month for the children of UUS members and donating friends as a member benefit.

Meet the teacher event will be held on the afternoon of August 21st, with the first day of preschool on August 23rd. We will be following the ICCSD school calendar for breaks and inclement weather closures.

Students will need to bring a packed lunch and snack each day (fridge space available). As much of our time will be spent outdoors, children should be dressed appropriately for the weather, preferably in clothing that is able to get dirty.

Children will need to be potty trained and 3-5 years old by September 15th to participate in our Nature Preschool program.  Currently, we are planning for 9 am – 2pm as the core part of our preschool days.  We are considering offering early drop-off and late pick-up or an alternate schedule if enough people need those alternatives.

View all of our policies in the UUS Nature Preschool Handbook here.

To join our waitlist, please follow the link below to If you have any trouble with the registration process, please email our Nic, Director of Lifespan Religious Education and Camp Director at education@uusic.org.

Service on Sundays at 10; Office Open Mon-Thurs 9-4 By Appointment

2355 Oakdale Rd, Coralville, IA 52241