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Putnam Indian Field School Takes the Classroom Outside

Sometimes the best educations happen outside of school. Putnam Indian Field School, a co-independent preschool for toddlers through pre-kindergarten, proves this with their enrichment program Smokey’s Bounders. Offered to students three years and older, the program, originally named for Smokey the Bear, allows students to extend their day outside the classroom through nature- and outdoor-based activities while they engage with other children and staff. “Smokey’s program exemplifies our commitment to building children’s love and respect for the outdoors as well as their independence and adventurous spirit,” says longtime program teacher Chace Wierdsma, nature teacher and the son of school founder, Fred Wierdsma.

While the Smokey’s program has had a long history at the school it has evolved over the years as staff continues to revisit key practices and generate new ideas. As children age through the program, Smokey’s expands to include field trips to local parks, nature centers, beaches and other destinations. 

Chace puts to work his expansive knowledge of the natural world, the Greenwich environs, and the history of Putnam Indian Field’s school campus to delight children with nature hikes and hunts right on the property, as well as building a bonfire to roast popcorn in the school’s fire pit and planning exciting trips to gather crabs for the touch tank in the science room.

“Providing children with ample opportunities to explore and learn about the outdoors facilitates their appreciation and respect for nature as well as their growth as stewards of our local and ultimately global environment.”


Putnam Indian Field School
101 Indian Field Rd. Greenwich, CT

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