The summer my daughter was 2, I decided it would be a good idea for us to enroll her in dance classes. And it was! For about 2.4 classes. So we finished out the mini summer semester and decided we’d try again in the Fall. Fall rolled around and the conversation went something like this:
Me: “Hey Addisen, do you want to take dance lessons again?”
Her: “Can I watch Curious George?”
Me: “Sure Bug, but don’t you want to take dance lessons? You can wear pretty tutus and dance with your friends. Remember how much fun you had over the summer?” [At which point my nose grew 3 inches longer and my pants caught on fire.]
Her: “Can we go play outside in the water?”
Me: “So that’s a yes to dance classes?”
Clearly she wasn’t interested so this past fall, we found something different. We tossed around a few ideas and ultimately presented her with the option to attend Zoo Preschool at the Fort Worth Zoo. She was ecstatic and so were we!
Initially I was concerned about the cost. However, after calculating dance class fees, recital and costume fees, it was roughly the same amount of money for the year. Plus, as zoo members we received a 10% discount!
Addisen attended Monday afternoons, from 1-4. I dropped her off right at 1 (they were always on time) and picked her up promptly at 4. In those 3 hours Addisen learned about a specific letter of the alphabet and animal, made a craft, had a snack, went on a zoo hike to visit the animal she learned about and most weeks had an animal visitor come to her classroom. Several times during the year the family is invited to join the zoo hike making it an extra special day at Zoo Preschool!
Making it even easier for this mom of 2, I would drop her off in front of the zoo education center where a teacher would get her out of the car and walk her behind a gate. Once class was over, she was walked back to my waiting car by a teacher. It was wonderful not to have to unload the baby to take her to and from class!
Her teachers were incredibly knowledgeable and I never worried about her safety or well-being. I got an email each week with a newsletter letting me know what was happening the next week and I received monthly progress reports on how Addisen was doing. If I ever had a question, the director was quick to respond.
I often wondered how they moved 15 children through the zoo and never lost one, so I asked. The answer is lots of teachers and a neat rope, segmented with different stuffed animals, they all hold onto while walking. Each day when I picked her up, I asked her what animal visited her class and what animal she got to hold onto.
Zoo Preschool is enrolling NOW! It’s available for 3-5 year olds and you have multiple class times to choose from.
We went to the zoo just a few days ago. It was late and there weren’t very many people left wandering about. We approached the lion exhibit and Addisen, riding on her dad’s shoulders says, “Hi Tsavo!” a look of familiarity and appreciation washing over her face, along with a huge smile. Turns out, she learned his name (and many others) from Zoo Preschool and she was simply saying hi to an old friend. I swear that big lion turned his head, looked right at her, and smiled.
Have your kids attended Zoo Preschool? What was their favorite part?