Dodge Nature Preschool


The mission of Dodge Nature Preschool is to provide a premier quality early childhoodenvironment and education which meets children's developmental needs, while initiating them into a lifelong, meaningful relationship with the natural world.


At Dodge Nature Preschool, we believe that children are intrinsically motivated to learn. The teaching staff promotes learning by:

- Providing an environment which encourages discovery, experimentation, and the opportunity to see the results of one's actions.

- Developing activities to encourage growth based on children's abilities and interests.

- Encouraging problem-solving and reflection by asking open-ended questions and providing information in response to children's ideas, insights, and concerns.

- Assisting children in their interactions with each other and offering opportunities for cooperative learning.

- Providing mixed-age classes to give children the opportunity to learn from and teach each other,much as it would occur naturally in multiple child families.

- Appreciating the individuality of children and families and celebrating diversity.



Dodge Nature Preschool curriculum will encourage cognitive, social, emotional, creative, physical, and linguistic growth. Daily activities include:

- Natural science experiences
- Art Activities
- Music and movement
- Language Activities
- Block-building and carpentry
- Math and manipulative activities
- Dramatic play activities
- Large and small motor activities
- Cooking and food experiences
- Sensory activities
- Self-help and health activities
(ex. dressing oneself and hand washing)



Dodge Nature Preschool offers morning or afternoon classes with the option of adding extended care hours.  Our usual teacher to child ratio is 1:6. 

Morning Classes: 8:45 am - 11:30 am
Tuesday and Thursday
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

Afternoon Classes: 12:45 pm - 3:30pm
Tuesday and Thursday
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
Monday through Friday ( mixed-age )

Monday - Friday Extended Care Programs
Morning Bunch: 8:00 am - 8:45 am
Lunch Bunch: 11:30 am - 12:45 pm



The Dodge Nature Preschool building is designed to provide the best possible preschool environment for young children. The welcoming entrance encourages family involvement andsmooth transitions from home to school. Spacious classrooms allow for the busy, active play of preschool children, with special attention toacoustics and temperature. Open-ended equipment and supplies encourage creative and cooperative learning. The large multipurpose room provides spaces for very active play. An outdoor play area features wooden climbing structures, a log cabin, and vegetable and flower gardens.



Dodge Nature Preschool is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), and have received a 4 Star Parent Aware Rating from DHS. We are also accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and have Nature Explore certified classrooms.





Tuesday/Thursday program:
$3,015 per year or $335 per month

Monday/Wednesday/Friday program:
$3,915 per year or $435 per month

Monday through Friday morning program:
$6,930 per year or $770 per month

Monday through Friday morning program:
$5,625 per year or $625 per month

Lunch Bunch Fee:
$50 per month for each day of the week child attends

Morning Bunch Fee: 
$32 per month for each day of the week child attends

A non-refundable payment equal to the monthly tuition is due one week after placement notification has been given to hold placement. This payment will be applied to the May 2019 tuition. This deposit is non-refundable regardless of child's attendance. There will be no reduction in monthly tuition for days missed or days that school is closed.


A scholarship fund is available to families who may need assistance with tuition. This may be ongoing support or temporary help due to a change in circumstances for a family. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please complete the scholarship application form and return it with your DNP enrollment application. A new request for scholarship will need to be made for each school year. Scholarship funds are made possible by parent fundraising, gifts from corporate donors, and earnings from the preschool endowment fund. Scholarship awards are granted to families who qualify until scholarship funds are no longer available. Funds are limited. Early application is recommended.


At Dodge Nature Preschool, early childhooddevelopment is at the core of our programs. Our staff has a strong background in education. They hold advanced degrees in various fields includingearly childhood education, psychology, environmental science, and art. They are certified in CPR and First Aid and have also completed numerous hours of in-service training to meet the requirements of NAEYC and state licensing. We frequently partner with local colleges and universities to place student interns and teachers in our classrooms. There are two teachers and one assistant teacher in each classroom. Our high teacher-to-student ratio of 3:18 allows for children's learning to take place in small, intimate groups both indoors and outdoors.




Marty Watson, Director

Marty has been the Director of Dodge Nature Preschool since 2008. She has a M.S. in Education, Supervision and Leadership from Bank Street College, NYC, and comes to Dodge from an Early Childhood program in New Jersey, where she was the director and head teacher. While in this setting she studied and implemented the Reggio Emilia approach. Work experiences in New Jersey included directing full day childcare, founding an afterschool program, and supervising Head Start teachers. During the past 35 years Marty has worked with students of all ages, from infants to adults. Her passion for nature comes from growing up on a farm in Western South Dakota.
Email Marty

Joey Schoen, Spruce Room Teacher/ Assistant Director

Joey has been a part of the team at Dodge Nature Preschool since 2003. She holds a B.A. in history from Macalester College and an M. Ed. in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Minnesota. In 2014, she was the recipient of the Kate Davidson Tanner Award. Joey is a regular contributor to the podcast “Teaching with the Body in Mind.”
Email Joey


Beki Cook, Office Coordinator

Beki has been at Dodge Nature Preschool since the fall of 2016. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Beki has worked as a newscast producer and in public relations. Most recently, she spent eight years teaching cake decorating classes.
Email Beki


Jennifer Elsen, Oak Room Assistant Teacher

Jennifer began teaching at Dodge in 2013. She grew up learning from nature and enjoys sharing her appreciation with young children. She has earned a B.A. in Communications with a minor in Film at the University of St. Thomas and a Master’s in Education: Natural Science and Environmental Education from Hamline University. Jennifer has worked in the Bloomington school district and at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.
Email Jennifer


April Greibrok, Oak Room Teacher

April begins her second year teaching at Dodge Nature Preschool. Previously she taught preschool at Fraser school and worked as a special education teaching assistant in the Saint Paul Public Schools. She has a BS in Human Services and Early childhood and a Master’s in Education: Natural Sciences and Environmental Education from Hamline University. April enjoys camping, hiking, biking, canoeing, gardening, and generally spending time outside with her family.
Email April

Judy Moran, Spruce Room Teacher

Judy received her BA in Sociology and Masters of Arts in Teaching; Science and Inquiry from Hamline. She has taught at Breck School and student taught at Mounds View School. She has been an Education presenter for the University of Minnesota Raptor Center and is a Master Gardener. She supported Bud, the Dodge Nature Center eagle, as he made his home here at Dodge.
Email Judy


Julie Nelson, Willow Room Teacher

Julie received her BA in Psychology from St. Olaf College, completed a Pre-K licensure program at the University of Minnesota and has completed additional graduate work in Education and Social Work. Her professional experiences include working as a teacher/director at Neighborhood House Child Care Center, working as an early intervention coordinator/teacher at Families Together Program of Lifetrack Resource, and teaching Pre-K in the St. Paul Public Schools. Julie teaches an online course through the Center for Early Education and Development, University of Minnesota and is also a published author.
Email Julie

Kristenza Nelson, Spruce Room Teacher

Kristenza began teaching at Dodge Nature Preschool in 2009. Kristenza has a B.F.A. in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute and attended the University of Minnesota Master Gardener Core Program. She has completed her Child Development Associate through the National Council of Professional Recognition, and is currently working on a Masters in Environmental Education at Hamline. A parent of two preschool alumni, Kristenza has taught art and photography for the Girls Scouts of Saint Croix Valley and for the YMCA.
Email Kristenza


Kari Nusbaum, Oak Room Teacher

Kari returns to Dodge Nature Preschool for her 5th year after taking a year off to be with her new baby girl. She has 12 years of experience as an early childhood teacher with extensive study and experience in the Reggio Emilia Approach. Her educational background includes a B.A. from Hamline in Communications and Psychology and early childhood credits from St. Kate’s.
Email Kari


Wesley Nugteren, Spruce Room Assistant Teacher

Wes earned his B.S. Degree and has nearly completed his M.S. in Plant Science from South Dakota State University. Previous to working at Dodge, he taught children and adults at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary. He grew up on a So. Dak. farm and takes pride in the soil-stained crevices of his fingertips. He believes in teaching a respect for nature that is born in love rather than fear. This means smelling the earth, touching the plants, and mindfully stepping off trail to take a closer look.
Email Wesley


Johannah Rukavina, Willow Room Teacher

Johannah has worked with young children most of her life, both in and out of school settings. She gained experience in nature education with a student teaching placement at Dodge Nature Preschool in the spring of 2016. Johannah is a graduate of the University of Northwestern, St. Paul with a degree in Early Childhood Education.
Email Johannah


Britney Stark, Oak Room Assistant Teacher

Britney began teaching at Dodge Nature Preschool in 2008. Britney is an alumni parent and was a volunteer at the preschool. Britney holds a B.S. in Life Science, Natural Resources from the University of Minnesota. Britney enjoys being outside and spending time with her family. Her hobbies include sketching, photography, and running.
Email Britney


Luzia Tavares, Willow Room Assistant Teacher

Luzia began her teaching career early as a teacher at her church. She graduated from the State University of Goias, Brazil and has 16 years of experience with kindergarten, preschool and special needs children. She is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish. She has a love for nature and outdoor life. She is eager to share her knowledge and skills with children, families and colleagues.
Email Luzia


Melissa Tobias, Oak Room Teacher

Melissa received her Bachelor of Education from the University of Wisconsin and her Masters at Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. She has had experience developing curriculum for children K-8 about wellness and sustainability, curriculum built around a school garden, greenhouse and schoolyard chickens. 
Email Melissa


Allison Bodkin, Lunch Bunch, Substitute Teacher

Allison is joining the Dodge team this year as a lunch Bunch teacher and sub.  Allison was a Dodge parent, active volunteer and classroom sub during the time her two children attended DNP. Her interest and enthusiasm for our work has continued after her children finished preschool. Allison has a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Cornell University and looks forward to growing her knowledge in the area of early childhood and nature education.
Email Allison


Kristin Carr, Morning & Lunch Bunch, Substitute Teacher

Kristin has worked with children since high school and began teaching at Dodge Nature Preschool in 2008. She is an alumni parent and volunteer. She has a B.A. in Biology with minors in chemistry and math from the University of Minnesota, Morris and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota. She enjoys cooking, the outdoors, photography and spending time with her children.
Email Kristin


Dasha Rosenthal, Lunch Bunch, Substitute Teacher

Dasha started as a substitute teacher at Dodge in 2016 after her two children graduated from Dodge Nature Preschool. Dasha has a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Brno. She moved to the United States in 2002 and is currently studying Early Childhood Education at the University of Minnesota.
Email Dasha



December 2018 Activities

2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31