Delivering curriculum through learner-led exploration of the natural world

Calgary Nature Kindergarten

Calgary's first Nature Kindergarten - an Alberta Education-approved independent ECS that is publicly funded.  The Kindergarten follows the Alberta Education mandated Kindergarten curriculum in a child-led, naturalized outdoor environment. 


Calgary Nature Kindergarten:

  • a full day program from 9 am - 3 pm, 2 days per week plus *alternating Fridays;  2017-2018 Calendar

  • has children spending the majority of each day learning and playing in a natural, outdoor environment

  • has a class size of 19 children (max.) with an outdoor classroom (Lloyd Park) ratio of 1:9

  • publicly funded with a $50 application fee and $350 total program fee; plus $25-$35 per calendar year for community association/park membership fees (depending on location).

  • Our indoor classroom is located on the lower level of the Tanbridge Academy building at corner of HWY 22x and 112 St W (5 minutes west of Spruce Meadows) and outdoor classroom located in Lloyd Park near the Red Deer Lake Community Centre.

What age is my child eligible for Kindergarten in Alberta?

Children’s Commons Ecological Society will be having it’s AGM on Dec. 13th at 7pm

Location: Tanbridge Academy Dance studio

(1178003, 112 St West Foothills)

Calgary Nature Kindergarten has an opening for an additional Classroom Aide position for working with children with ASD. Please click here for more information on applying for this position. Position starts Nov. 26th.

2019/20 school year registration opens in January 2019

If you are interested in registering your child for Kindergarten in the 2019/20 school year, registrations opens in January. Attend the open house January 17, 2019 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm. We recommend that all interested families attend the open house, registration opens on the same day.

Questions,  please contact our Registrar 


2018-2019 School documents for download:

2018-2019 School Calendar is available here.

Clothing list for 2018-2019 school year available here. 

2018-2019 Parent Handbook now available 

2018-2019 school forms and waivers package available here

Calgary Nature Kindergarten is operated by the Children's Commons Ecological Society (CCES). CCES is a not-for-profit society started by the educators, founders and parents of Common Digs Forest School.  

Board of Directors: Lisa Menzies, Tara Dressler, Kate Hoang, Cheryl Galbraith, and Ashlin Russell 

CCES Mission:

To create learning environments that foster the connection between children and the natural world by providing repeated and regular access to a nature space, hands on collaborative learning, playful inquiry, and reflection and use of materials as a means for all learners to extend their understanding of themselves and their relationship to the world around them. 

The CCES Board of Directors is expanding. More details here 

CCES and Common Digs are separately operated organizations that have common goals, work collaboratively and share resources.

Our RDL Location:

Tanbridge Academy Building: 178003 112 Street West Foothills No. 3, AB T1S 0V8 ((corner or HWY 22x and 53rd St SW) 

& Lloyd Park



TO GET TO INDOOR CLASSROOM: Park in the 2nd parking lot of the Tanbridge School Building and walk down the hill to our south-facing, lower-level entrance. 


TO GET TO OUTDOOR CLASSROOM (Lloyd Park):  Continue driving straight past our school and at the end of the road you will see the Lloyd Park entrance and the parking lot is just a little past the gates.  We will meet at the Lloyd Park Picnic Shelter.  *Bring backpacks and lunches with you to Park on mornings that start here.*




What is Nature Kindergarten?
The concept of educating children through the natural world and real life experiences is not new. It first came into academic thinking in the early 1800's. In the past 50 years it has taken a resurgence in Europe and very recently in the US and Canada. Several Nature Kindergartens exist now in Canada including Sooke Nature Kindergarten (BC), Maple Ridge Eco School (BC), Barrie Nature Kindergarten (ON) and Tawinga College (ON) among others.


  • repeated opportunity to return to the same outdoor, natural space for great lengths of time

  • playful inquiry

  • emergent curriculum

  • supported strong and mighty play

  • collaboration

  • use of natural materials

  • dialogue

  • reflection

See what the media has to say about us!

Our new interview on CBC's Now or Never

Education and environment: Calgary's nature kindergarten gets kids playing and learning outside

Listen to the full radio interview here

To keep up to date with our latest news and thoughts follow us on Twitter and Facebook:

Some helpful resources:

This video is about the Nature Kindergarten at Sangster Elementary School in the Sooke School District (just West of Victoria) in British Columbia, Canada.