Head Start Initiative

Head Start Initiative

Karen Anderson and group

Children look at cones from the Dawn Redwood.

The Arnold Arboretum has offered field trips for local Head Start programs in Boston since 2007. In this age-appropriate program, volunteer guides conduct multi-sensory explorations, allowing children to participate in investigations, gather a collection of plant materials, and make an observational drawing. Preschool children visit in the spring, summer, and fall.

HS hand lens to look at snail

A young scientist examines a snail with a hand lens.

Programs in the Head Start Intiative leverage the innate curiosity of preschool children. They are keen to explore what they encounter, excited to make new discoveries, and eager to share their experiences with their peers, teachers, and parents. The enthusiasm of young children is amplified in a natural outdoor setting like the Arnold Arboretum. In past years, Field Study experiences for preschoolers have included exploring Willow Path, the edge of the meadow, and the North Woods. In spring, the program focuses on exploring the area around the ponds.

Feel the love

Children pretend to be trees reaching for the sunlight.

In addition to the seasonal field trips, the Arboretum hosts Head Start Family Day, a fall open house for families of Head Start students. With bus transportation provided by the Arboretum, families embark together on hikes, make leaf rubbings, examine plant material under microscopes, and enjoy healthy snacks. In 2015 the Arboretum hosted over 120 parents and children, the largest number of attendees yet for this annual event.

May 08 observational drawing 1

Children draw plants and animals in the Arboretum.