Early Childhood

Connecting young children to local food systems and the environment through inquiry-based learning experiences

MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center provides young children a unique place to increase their knowledge of the plants, animals, and natural habitats which exist in our community. Our programs, including Farm Sprouts, Children's Garden Story Hour, and Preschool Field Trips, focus on developing scientific thinking and understanding through discovery, experimentation, and play!

Michigan State University Extension helps people improve their lives through an educational process that applies knowledge to critical issues, needs, and opportunities. Our early childhood education programs at MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center focus on an inquiry-based project approach to learning. We provide young children with opportunities to explore local food and our Michigan natural resources to meet the increasing need within our community for learning experiences in the outdoors. We aim to develop a growing understanding of food, community, and ecosystems in order to support a healthy and sustainable future.

Upcoming Event:

Sugar Bush Pre-K Soirée

Soirée, defined: soi·rée (swäˈrā/) An evening party or gathering for conversation or music. In our case, a mid-day, pre-nap celebration of learning that includes discovery, adventure, exploration, wonder, and fun!

Who
: Families with children ages 2-5 years old (siblings welcome and fee applies)

What: A developmentally appropriate maple sugaring experience for young children to investigate how maple syrup ends up on a pancake

  • participate in crafts and sensory experiences
  • join in on a tractor-pulled wagon ride
  • meet our staff (and a few of our animals)
  • enjoy popcorn and warm beverages around the bonfire
  • discover what happens in a sugar shack
  • learn how to tap and identify a sugar maple tree
  • taste our own maple syrup
  • listen to music and stories
  • explore the forest and more!

Cost: $5 / person (no registration necessary, fee to be paid with cash or check upon arrival, limited to families, visit our field trips website if interested in a group experience, contact coordinator if cost is a barrier)

No charge for preschoolers enrolled in our Maple Sugaring Season of Farm Sprouts in addition to two parents/caregivers.

When: March 18th between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (open house style - come and go as you please)

Dress: Warm, winter gear for outdoor exploration (snow boots, pants, mittens, hats, scarves, etc.) It’s better to be overdressed and needing to remove layers!

Where: MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center with check-in at our Activity Center (across from Children's Garden - park in the large lot along Meadowbrook Road and follow signage)

Why: Discover and celebrate this special season and the first agricultural product of the year to be harvested in Michigan!

MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status.

Please contact the Early Childhood Coordinator should you require any special needs or accommodations.

Contact: Brooke Larm / Early Childhood Coordinator / (248) 347-0269 ext. 230


 

 

 

 

 

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