Roots ‘N Shoots Nature Program for Preschoolers at Schrader Center

The “Roots ‘N Shoots” preschool nature programs at Oglebay Institute’s Schrader Environmental Education Center build early science skills and promote nature appreciation and environmental stewardship. By combining play and learning, children develop at their own pace and better understand how they are a part of the larger world.

Spring programs take place from 9:15-10:15 a.m. on select Fridays through mid-May and are open to children ages 2-4 with an adult. Schrader Center naturalists lead all activities.

Adults and children learn to incorporate nature education and outdoor fun into all seasons. Lessons include a hands-on nature craft, story or song and a short walk, weather permitting, to outdoor areas around the Schrader Center.

Schrader Center director Molly Check explained that the “roots” of the program are the adults who accompany the children, and the “shoots” are the young, aspiring naturalists.

She also said that the adults who bring the children to the programs are often grandparents and other caregivers.

“Children who spend time with nature are typically happier, healthier and more successful in school,” Check said. “Also, our programs offer fun, creative ways to help small children build science skills at an early age.”

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Spring “Roots ‘N Shoots’ topics and dates include:

March 29: Are You My Mother? — Explore how birds take care of their babies and learn a bird song or two.

April 12:  Here Comes the Sun — Things are waking up after their long winter nap, even plants! Experience a seed’s life cycle as you become a seed, a shoot and finally grow into a plant.

April 26: Sunshine and Sunflowers — Dig in and get dirty as you plant your own flower in a recycled container using recycled soil. Learn about plant parts and what they do for the plant you take home.

May 10: Smells, Sights and Sounds of Nature — Gather your senses and head out into the woods to use them all. What will you see or hear?

May 17: Amphibian Fun — Explore animal life cycles as we capture tadpoles and observe wildlife at the upper pond. Class will meet at Schenk Lake.

Cost is $55 for the entire series or $12 for individual programs. Membership discounts and multi-child discounts are available. Advanced registration is strongly recommended because class sessions may fill up. For more information or to register, visit or call the Schrader Center at 304-242-6855.