An all weather, outdoor preschool enrichment program

Winter/Spring 2020

Spring Session- February 4 - May  21, 2020-

Forest Days at the Greenwich Botanical Center is an all weather, outdoor, preschool enrichment program designed to encourage children ages 3 through 5 to grow socially, emotionally and physically through interest-led play and natural exploration.  The program will be offered Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 12:15 - 2:45 p.m.   You may register your child for one or both days.  Our afternoon schedule flows organically from what nature presents each day.  We are an all weather program and we will be meeting outdoors, rain or shine, in all safe weather.  Space is limited to twelve children with two teachers.  

Our belief is that spending unstructured time in the forest stimulates each child’s innate curiosity.  Outdoor nature play develops observation skills, problem solving, logic and reasoning skills and encourages taking risks.  Activities include creating secret habitats, making forest stew, observing critters in their natural environments, going on nature walks, singing, art and free play.      

*Children must be three years old by August 1, 2019 and be fully toilet trained.  


Registration Details

Registration closes on January 9, 2020

February 4 - May  21, 2020 (28 Sessions Total)

Tuesday/ Thursday afternoons 12:15-2:45pm

Forest Days will not meet weeks of  2/9 and 4/12

Days Per Week                Cost

        1                $700.00 member / 800.00 nonmember

        2                $1,400.00 member / 1,600.00 nonmember

Register by December 17, 2019 for Early Bird Savings!  Those who take advantage of our early bird discount will save $50 off their tuition for the semester (those who register for two days per week will save $100).

Registration and payment is available online.  All forms and proof of vaccinations must be submitted by January 13th via email or by mailing in/dropping off to GBC, 130 Bible Street, P.O. Box 1600, Cos Cob, CT 06807.  

Only children with a complete Registration Packet submitted by January 13, 2020 will be accepted. A complete registration packet includes:

  1. Registration Form, Emergency Contact and Waiver
  2. Immunization Records (current copy is acceptable)
  3. Payment (cash, check or credit card)



One of Greenwich Botanical Center’s experienced educators will lead each group. No more than 12 children will be placed in a group. One additional assistant will be assigned to a group to maintain a low student-to-teacher ratio; a second assistant will be added when necessary. Our lead teacher is certified in Adult, Child, and Infant CPR and First Aid for First Responders. She is also trained to use EpiPens. Certifications are updated annually. All staff must pass a thorough background check.  

Laurel Scarlata, Educator

Laurel Scarlata is a native of Greenwich, where she inherited her love of the outdoors and nature from her father, Jim McArdle of McArdle's Florist and Garden Center.  

Laurel holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and a Masters in Special Education. She previously taught preschool in town at The Bridges School and The Preschool at Second Congregational Church. Prior to her preschool teaching career, Laurel taught at Kindergarten and First Grade at North Street School. Laurel lives in Cos Cob with her husband and three teenage sons. Her hobbies include hiking with her family, gardening, birding, cooking and reading.

Kristen Paradise, Educator

Kristen Paradise moved to Greenwich at the age of four. She grew up with a love for animals, outdoor adventures and competitive sports. Horses became one of her passions and she learned to ride at age 7 and soon competed locally and then nationally. She then became a riding instructor and taught children ages 3 and up. Her love of teaching children continued when she became a preschool teacher at St. Saviour’s Nursery School and then at The Preschool at Second Congregational Church. She attended Greenwich High School, Boston University and Manhattanville College, earning a BA.

She currently resides in Cos Cob with her husband and 4 children, ages 4, 6, 15 and 16.  Some of her hobbies include running, gardening, hiking and exploring in the local trails with her children and dog.

Jennifer Butler, Program Director

Jennifer Butler grew up in Greenwich and is an attorney turned stay-at-home mom to two little girls and a sweet Golden Retriever. Her dream to help found a forest-based program for preschool aged children began during the countless hours she spent outdoors with her toddler.  After researching and discovering the vast benefits of outdoor play, she took her idea to Greenwich Botanical Center where she sits on the Board and serves as the Vice President of Youth Programming.

It was through GBC that Jennifer connected with Laurel Scarlata and the two have since worked tirelessly to provide the community with a unique and growing forest-based program.

Jennifer received her J.D. from Pace University School of Law and B.A. from St. Joseph’s University. In addition to sitting on the  Board of Greenwich Botanical Center, Jennifer now serves as the Director of Forest Days. She and her husband, Barron live in Cos Cob with their growing family.


12:15                 Drop off/ Get geared up

12:30                 Hike to the forest/Lunch

12:45                 Stump Time

1:00-2:30         Time in the Forest:  Children may engage in various activities such as water play, cook in the kitchen, build a rock tower, paint with watercolors and observe birds and insects.

2:30-2:45         Closing Circle and prepare for dismissal


Forest Day participants must wear appropriate clothing for outdoor play and exploration. During the cold weather months, warm boots and wool socks should be worn. When the weather turns milder (if it does come April or May!)  we will send out an email regarding appropriate footwear and clothing.  Even if it is a mild winter day, please have your child wear boots so they can explore the water in the creek. We have found that the creek is great to explore when a child is wearing boots. A Ziploc bag containing a change of clothes should come in your child’s backpack on the first day in case your child has a bathroom accident.  An extra pair of warm socks should be in your child’s backpack each day. A raincoat (or Oaki suit) and rain boots must be worn on rainy days and a warm jacket and warm pants should be worn on winter days. And last but not least, a water bottle, which we refill if necessary. Here is a list version:

OAKI Suits

We’re happy to announce that we are partnering with OAKI to offer all GBC Forest Days families a generous discount on all weather clothing.  OAKI helps keep your kids comfortable and dry while they experience the outside.  While not required, we encourage you to consider purchasing a Classic Trail One Piece Rain Suit for your child.  The Rain Suit can be worn over layers and warmer jackets as the weather changes.  OAKI also sells rain proof footwear that you may want to consider purchasing.  More information can be found on OAKI’s website ( and the coupon code will be provided to all registered families.  

Dependent on weather, please apply sunscreen and bug spray before arriving at the GBC.


If your child has an allergy that requires an EpiPen, you will need to sign-in the EpiPen on Monday morning. Your child’s EpiPen will be in their group’s first aid kit while your child is in the program and will be returned at the end of the session unless otherwise requested by the child’s parent/guardian.  


Children will be eating lunch shortly after they arrive at Forest Days.  Later in the afternoon we will provide a healthy nut free snack.  Please make sure that your child’s lunch is nut free.  We take water breaks and ask you to send an appropriate labeled reusable water bottle with your child.  Our staff will refill water bottles as needed.

If your child has food allergies please discuss them with GBC staff ahead of time. Although we are not a nut-free facility, we are respectful of children with allergies and use nut-free products.  


Should your child become ill or injured during Forest Days, you will be notified by phone immediately.  Staff is trained in CPR/First Aid and respond to all emergencies.


Upon arrival, please walk your child to the classroom downstairs. The teachers will assist the children with using the bathroom and getting “geared up” for the afternoon.  

For pickup, please park your child and walk over to the front of the building. We will be sitting on the grass area to the left of the building.


Forest Days runs rain or shine.  In case of thunder and lightning, we will retreat to our indoor classroom. In the event the GBC is closed due to severely inclement weather, you will receive an email that the center is closed.


If your child participated in the Fall 2019 session of Forest Days and all of their emergency contact information, medical information and vaccination records are the same, you do not need to fill out additional forms for the winter/spring semester. Please sign below.

My child ____________________ participated in the Fall 2019 session of Forest Days and all their emergency contact information, medical information and vaccination records have not changed.

Parent Name: ________________________________________________________

Signature: ____________________________________________________________

Date: __________________________________________________________________


Child’s Name

Child’s Date of Birth

Child’s Age on August 1, 2019

I am the parent or guardian of ______________________ who intends to participate in the Forest Days Program operated by Greenwich Botanical Center.  I hereby consent to the participation of my child in the Program and release GBC, its officers, directors, agents, and employees from and against any and all claims, including injury to person, or for death, or from loss of, or damage to, property in any way connected to such participation. Further, I agree to indemnify and hold harmless each of the Released Parties, and all of them, from any liability they may incur as a result of My Child’s participation.

I fully understand and acknowledge that: 1) risks and dangers exist by virtue of the nature of the Program activities of hiking, climbing, and outdoor games and my child’s participation in hiking, climbing, and outdoor game activities, 2) such activities, my child’s use of equipment related to, and/or participation in such activities may result in injury or illness or death or damage to personal property and 3) these risks and dangers may be increased and damage may occur due to the actions of other participants, or by accidents, forces of nature or other causes. I understand that such risks may arise from foreseeable or unforeseeable causes and that such risks cannot be eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities of the activity. I hereby knowingly and voluntarily accept and assume these risks and dangers and the risks of illness, Injury or death or damage to personal property on my behalf and on behalf of my child.

In a medical emergency, I grant GBC permission to 1) take my Child to a hospital via motorized vehicle or ambulance and 2) authorize examination and treatment of injuries, x-rays and any other necessary care for my child.

It is my intention that this release shall be interpreted as broadly and inclusively as permitted by law and that it shall be binding on my child, my spouse, all of the members of my family and their heirs, executors and assigns.

Parent Name:




I understand that no refunds or credits will be given towards other programs, or events if I cancel my enrollment.

In the event  of cancelation, a tax receipt will be issued indicating that the program fee was converted into a charitable donation. Membership is non-refundable.

Parent Name:



Behavior Agreement: I understand that GBC reserves the right to cancel this contract at any time if the staff finds that the program is not suitable for My Child due to repeated conduct by My Child that the staff finds unacceptable and that any refund in such situation will be at GBC`s discretion.

Parent Name:



Photographic Permission and Release (Optional): I hereby grant GBC permission to copyright, publish, use and reproduce, in whole or in part, alone or with others, any photograph, moving picture, videotape or recording taken or made of My Child, in any medium, for any purpose related to the program, whether or not My Child is named or otherwise identified, and I agree to waive any rights of inspection or approval.

Parent Name:





Parent Guardian One

Alternate Phone Number


Home Address

Parent Guardian

Parent Guardian Two

Phone Number Two

Alternate Phone Number


All communication about the program will be emailed to you. Please print clearly.


Please choose three emergency contacts in the event guardians cannot be reached.  DO NOT LIST YOURSELF OR SPOUSE


Primary Phone #

Relationship to Child


Primary Phone #

Relationship to Child


Primary Phone #

Relationship to Child


Doctor’s Name

Doctor’s Phone Number

Is your child subject to asthma, allergies, dietary restrictions, limits on activities, or other medical conditions? If so, please explain:

Does your child have any emotional, behavioral, or learning challenges? If so, please explain and let us know the best way to connect with your child and/or address any challenges:

We are here to support your child. Is there anything about your child you would like GBC staff to know?

Medical/hospital insurance carrier

Group Number

Policy’s Holder’s name

Membership ID

Relationship to Child