Nature’s Way Preschool (NWPS), part of the Austin Nature & Science Center, is a unique enrichment program that provides young children with an immersive experience into the wonders of the natural world.  Children experience outdoor adventures with fun, hands-on nature and science experiences designed to connect them to the natural world while encouraging curiosity and excitement.  In this nurturing and safe environment, children are motivated to take initiative, express their ideas, and solve problems. Activities include daily hikes, animal encounters, sand and water play, and nature art.

Nature's Way Preschool

All classes are full for the 2024-2025 school year.

Waitlist for 2024-2025 School Year

Tour Dates

Tours are conducted in groups (10 families max) from October to January. Tours begin at 2:00 pm and last approximately 30 minutes, followed by a time for discussion. Children are allowed on tours, but supervision is required. Registration coming soon!

2024-2025 Tour Dates:

  • Monday, October 14, 2024
  • Friday, November 1, 2024
  • Monday, December 2, 2024
  • Friday, December 13, 2024
  • Monday, January 6, 2025
  • Friday, January 17, 2025
Class Offerings

September 2024 - April 2025

For 3 year olds:

  • Hummingbirds Class: Monday/Wednesday 9 am - 1 pm
  • Hummingbirds Class: Tuesday/Thursday 9 am - 1 pm
  • Hummingbirds Class: Friday 9 am - 1 pm

For 4/5 year olds:

  • Iguanodons Class: Monday-Thursday 9 am - 1 pm
  • Starfish Class: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9 am - 1 pm
  • Starfish Class: Tuesday/Thursday 9 am - 1 pm
  • Iguanodons Class: Friday 9 am - 1 pm
  • Mockingbirds Class: Tuesday/Thursday 2 pm - 5 pm
  • Roadrunners Class: Tuesday or Thursday 2 pm - 5 pm
Parent/Guardian Information

2024-2025 Calendar

2024-2025 Handbook

Tuition Information

Tuition Information 2024-2025

Resident Tuition

Resident Tuition

Non-Resident Tuition

Non-Resident Tuition

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the student-to-teacher ratio?

The ratio is never larger than 8:1.

How old does my child need to be to attend?

Children must be 3-5 years of age. All students must be potty-trained in order to participate.

Are you a state-licensed preschool?

Yes! We are a licensed center, regulated by Texas Health and Human Services. 

Where are classes located?

Classes are held at the Ashford-McGill Trailhouse building at the Austin Nature & Science Center.

Where do I park?

Parking is located under Mopac Bridge on Stratford Drive (2389 Stratford Drive). Accessible Parking is available on the other side of Stratford next to the ANSC entrance. Follow the entry path up the hill until you see Nature’s Way Preschool on your left.

How does the waitlist work?

Each class has its own individual waitlist, which forms once a class fills during registration. Spots are filled as soon as they become available, both during the summer and throughout the school year. Once contacted about an available spot, families have 48 hours to respond. Waitlists do not carry over from year to year.

How do I learn about registration?

Public registration typically takes place in late January for the following school year.  Tour participants will receive an email notification informing them of the registration date and time for the upcoming school year. Otherwise, you can check our website or the ANSC Facebook for up to date information.

Can I register my child for more than one class?

Participants can only register for one class section.  Each class section is designated with a unique Activity Number in the registration system.

How do I know if I am an Austin resident?

Austin residents zip codes: 73301 73344 78701 78702 78703 78704 78705 78708 78709 78710 78711 78712 78713 78714 78715 78716 78717 78718 78719 78720 78721 78722 78723 78724 78725 78726 78727 78728 78729 78730 78731 78732 78733 78734 78735 78736 78737 78738 78739 78741 78742 78744 78745 78746 78747 78748 78749 78750 78751 78752 78753 78754 78755 78756 78757 78758 78759 78760 78761 78762 78763 78764 78765 78766 78767 78768 78769 78772 78773 78774 78778 78779 78780 78781 78783 78785 78789 78799

How do I know if I qualify for financial aid?

Visit for more information.


For additional information, please contact the front desk at or at (512) 974-3888.

Photo Gallery

Check out our Flickr gallery.


"Nature's Way has been one of the best decisions for our family. My kids love the outside time of course, but the best thing is the quality of the teachers. They love the kids so well and have such high quality of character themselves that spills over to the kids. I love the community we've built here, and I'm so thankful this exists.”

"We absolutely LOVE Nature's Way Preschool! Our son has absolutely thrived and we couldn't be happier this was his first experience in school. This program has nurtured his love of nature, science and learning. It's such a unique experience in the heart of Austin on the most beautiful preserve, what more could you possibly ask for in a preschool and experience for you children?"

"Participating in the Roadrunners program has been the best thing for our 5 year old. Through weekly hikes she was able to get more comfortable with independent exploration and her confidence has soared. The teachers have been thoughtful, encouraging, and supportive which also allowed her personality to shine."

"I feel so fortunate that my son got to attend Nature's Way. I think its such a unique experience that he gets to learn about nature and more practically about our local environment at the Austin Nature Science Center, and go out hiking throughout the year. And all this with amazing teachers! I only wish I knew about the place sooner so I could have had my son attend the year earlier!!

"At Nature's Way, my son enjoyed a wonderful dose of supervised outdoor free play, which fostered in him an adventurous spirit and a curiosity about and love of nature. This free play is balanced with structured activities involving books and art exploration. It's all about the process -- the play and the learning -- rather than a product the kids are supposed to make to bring home. It was the right fit for my son. Our family feels so fortunate to have found this magical preschool. "

"Nature's Way is a unique and wonderful learning experience for pre-school kids. The staff is composed of wonderful, energetic, empowering people who helped my little girl have an absolutely incredible time learning and growing. They are nurturing, caring givers who love what they do and it shows! I highly, highly recommend Nature's Way!"

"Nature’s Way is one of the jewels of this city. While nature is at the center of the curriculum, the interpersonal relationship-building between the kids and teachers stand out as its greatest achievement. My son is a better person having gone to Nature’s Way."

"Nature’s Way has an incredibly fun, caring staff. They were the favorite part of my child’s experience. Second, the priority of outdoor play, exploration, and hiking is perfect for preschoolers."

“My son had two great years at Nature's Way and we will always cherish those memories.  It was truly a place of joy for him- the way he would run up the ramp with excitement on the way to school and leave with huge smiles… I think I will always look back on these last two years with the sweetest memories of school for him… I wish it didn't have to end!”

“The teachers- I can’t express enough how the hands-on teaching has impacted them. These aren’t just teachers who like nature but have hands on experience, stories and are deeply passionate about what they are doing and know nature. The school environment itself has been an incredibly special place to learn and grow. Such beautiful memories”.

“My daughter enjoyed attending class very much and, generally, I had to force her to leave every time I went to pick her up at the end of the day. You all create such a loving, accepting and caring environment. For our family, this was our first experience going to school ever, and I couldn’t have been better!”

“He’s only been with y’all for about a month, but he’s learned so much about the outdoors.  Every time we go on a hike, I learn something new from him (e.g stinging nettles).   It’s been fun to watch him grow more confident in his outdoor environment.”

“NWPS gave us all an increased awareness and curiosity of nature. We loved the community and calmness that the teachers at NWPS cultivated. When we were new to Austin we felt at home immediately at NWPS, everyone at the school has been welcoming and understanding. I could go on and on, we love NWPS and will always remember it as one of our favorite things about living in Austin!”

“I love the space, the teachers, the independence, and way teachers encourage and allow space and time for kids to think creatively alone and together to solve problems and interact with each other as tiny humans.”

“NWPS is small, almost like a family. Teachers are so caring, and so open and available to talk with parents, and there is great focus on social emotional skills. Kids obviously get tons of outdoor time. They get stronger (mine can hike so far now) and confident in the outdoors. They get lots of time to be creative, with very few traditional toys and school tools. And, of course, they develop a deeper appreciation for nature”

“I love the open-ended curriculum, it allows the kids room to be creative and explore. I can’t believe how much my daughter knows about the nature around her now, she teaches me new things all the time. This school does an amazing job of teaching the kids social emotional skills that foster wonderful relationships between them, their teacher, and school friends. She has loved this school so much and is sad to leave it for kindergarten next year.”

“I love that Nature's Way Preschool follows an experiential and environmental pedagogy. I also love the incorporation of creative mediums & loose parts in daily play outside. The teachers are super knowledgeable and friendly.”

“The staff is generous in their attention to the child and the family. Also their creative incorporation of nature, art, social-emotional skills is very appreciated. The physical environment is unrivaled.”

“Every day our kiddo was happy. Dirty and so very happy. Squeals of joy are what I heard on my way up the ramp to pick up. She loved discovering and making new friends and hikes and animal visitors and all the teachers that made her feel safe and successful, strong and part of a lovely community.”

“We take weekend walks on the green belt. Our son now leads us and explains what to look for, what to watch out for, how to be prepared, etc. We’ve loved seeing his confidence improve.”  

“My twins were given opportunities to develop strengths/weaknesses individually and feel loved by various caregivers. We loved the community built with family hikes and have made lifelong friends from the program. My children are sublimely happy every day to attend.”

“Nature’s Way is run the way MORE preschools should be run. More children need to be outside like they are at NWPS - the academics will come later."

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