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Santa Barbara Zoo becomes first ‘Zoo Preschool’ in California

Early Explorer program photos 2020
Santa Barbara Zoo
Early Explorer program photos 2020

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Preschoolers in Santa Barbara can now receive a 'wild' education at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

The zoo's Early Explorers program has been given approval to operate full-time, becoming the first full-time preschool in the state to operate out of an AZA-accredited zoo.

The Early Explorers program is a "play-based early education program for children age 3 to 5." The program was launched in 2020, in part, due to new challenges that cropped up due to remote learning prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The preschool program includes animal encounters, sustainability and garden education, arts and crafts, as well as rides on the famous Zoo Train.

"We are so proud to offer a truly one-of-a-kind outdoor preschool experience for parents that is rich with hands-on learning, provides kinder readiness, and most importantly is at a Zoo,” said J.J. McLeod, Director of Education at the Santa Barbara Zoo. “Children are surrounded by wildlife that they get to learn about, visit regularly, and develop a natural appreciation for their conservation."

Preschoolers are educated throughout the zoo's 28 acres with a student to teacher ratio of 9 to 1.

The zoo says it is following COVID-19 protocols and taking extra precautions to keep kids safe.

Registration for the Early Explorers program is open now and available schedules include full time, part time and other options.

For more information about the program and registration, click here.

Animals / California / Community / Lifestyle / Santa Barbara - South County
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Travis Schlepp

Travis Schlepp is the Digital Content Director for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Travis, click here.

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