Early Childhood & Preschool Programs


Preschool doesn’t just provide childcare. It also prepares children for primary school and helps to inspire a love of learning that lasts a lifetime. Parks and Recreation is here to help Lincoln children connect with nature and the world around them while building the foundation for school success.

Lincoln Parks and Recreation preschool programs have been recognized by Nebraska Step Up to Quality for their commitment to quality childcare and education. Step Up to Quality programs go beyond state licensing requirements to better serve the needs of young children and their families and to prepare them for success in kindergarten and beyond. Our preschool programs are open to children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old.  Sessions are held September through May.  

The Benefits of Early Childhood Learning: A close up of two student's hands as they pick sunflower seeds out of a large sunflower head.

Social Interaction
  • Interact with other children.
  • Helps children develop self-regulation skills.
  • Teaches cooperation, manners, and conflict resolution.
  • Develops independence and self-reliance.  
  • Routine can help children flourish.
  • Makes for a smoother transition to elementary school.
 Cognitive Development
  • Language and literacy
  • Communication
  • Numeral recognition and early math skills.
  • Science: including animals, nature, and body parts
  • Observation and description
  • Learning through play and discovery 




Nature Center Preschool

Established in 2000, Nature Preschool is a play-based program in which children learn by doing: hiking, climbing, digging, building, and being outdoors. We believe that early childhood is a time for discovery, a time to enjoy the many miracles of the natural world:Preschool student paints a

  • The colors of fall prairie grass.
  • The texture of a snake's skin.
  • The call of chorus frogs.
  • The smell of plum blossoms.
  • The feel of cool, damp soil.

Research has found that frequent, unstructured play in natural environments has a strong positive influence on the developmental needs of young children. Play contributes to school success by helping children develop the skills necessary for literacy, math, self-regulation, social negotiation, critical thinking and leadership. The preschool program at Pioneers Park Nature Center provides the opportunity for children to learn through play and with nature, setting them up for success in Kindergarten and beyond!

Nature Preschool offers two programs; preschool for children 3 - 4 years of age on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 - 11:30 a.m. and prekindergarten for children 4 - 5 years of age on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 - 11:30 a.m. or 12:45 – 3:15 p.m. 

The curriculum at Nature Preschool focuses on the children’s interests and discoveries in nature while also incorporating activities for:

  • Developing and strengthening communication skills.Calvert preschool student inspects a cascade of plants with a magnifying glass.
  • Developing independence and perseverance.
  • Recognizing letters, words, and developing phonological awareness.
  • Learning shapes, counting, quantities, sorting, and comparing.
  • Self-expression through visual arts, music, movement, and dramatic play.

For more information or to schedule at tour call the Preschool Director at 402-441-8669.

Nature Center Preschool Links

Nature Center Preschool Downloads 


Calvert Preschool

Lincoln parks and recreation has offered programs and activities for preschool-age children at Calvert Recreation Center since the center opened in 1989. At Little Sprouts Preschool at Calvert Recreation Center children learn about nature and the world around them in an urban setting while learning other skills for school success. 

Little Sprouts preschool curriculum is planned based on the children’s interests and discoveries, incorporating activities that support children in developing skills for school readiness. Little Sprouts is focused on music, art, outdoor exploration, and other fun early childhood activities to help support the learning and development of children ages 3-5 in the following domains:

  • Approaches to Learning 
  • Creative Arts 
  • Health and Physical Development 
  • Language and Literacy Development 
  • Social and Emotional Development 

Little Sprouts offers flexible scheduling options of either 2 days, 3 days or 5 days a week from 9:00 - 11:30 a.m. 

“Our son loves it and has positive experiences there. He has learned so much! you have a wonderful program and excellent teachers! Thank you for exceeding our expectations!” 
-Preschool Parent 

For more information call the Preschool Director at 402-441-8669.

Preschool Links 

Preschool Downloads