The Zoo's half-day preschool program begins in September 2014 and will operate on weekday mornings during the school year in the new Monsanto Education Gallery in the Zoo's The Living World building. The school will integrate science and animal themes across the curriculum for ages 3-5, with a maximum of 18 students per class.
- To nurture children and their families in a learning environment grounded in a healthy connection to the natural world.
- To foster creativity and collaboration through child directed learning.
- To address the needs of the whole child and help each individual reach their full potential.
See our preschool guiding principles.
The preschool will operate on a traditional school year schedule, September to May, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. each school day. (See school calendar below.)
- Children ages 3-4 will attend on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
- Children ages 4-5 will attend on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
During the school year, the Wild Wonder Outpost discovery room will be open for the public on weekday afternoons and all day on weekends and holidays and preschool breaks. Camp Joey will operate in the Education Gallery from June to August.
The Zoo's early childhood team has a combined 64 years of experience in early childhood and environmental education. Each team member also has a minimum of a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related science degree. The Zoo's program exceeds the required staff to child ratios of 1:6, allowing for more individualized time with each child.
To make this program available to families with a range of incomes, the Zoo offers sliding scale tuition rates. Financial aid applications are processed by an independent agency, and need is assessed based on that information. Tuition discounts will range from 30 to 80 percent of full tuition based on need; however, full tuition assistance is not available.
Ages 3-4 years
Two-day program (Tuesday and Thursday)
$600 per month
Students must turn 3 AND be able to use the restroom independently by September 1 of the school year you are applying for.
Ages 4-5 years
Three-day program (Monday, Wednesday and Friday)
$900 per month
The Zoo's preschool will be working closely with Adrian Cerezo, Ph.D., Associate Director of Conservation Education Research at the Saint Louis Zoo. Dr. Cerezo will be collaborating with local universities to research a variety of topics, which may include the impact of environmental education and other related issues, on young children. As a lab school, the Zoo will provide access for his research team to observe the preschool program from time to time. These observations will create minimal distraction and disruption of classroom activities. The Zoo assures that it will be providing a high quality program that includes the most up-to-date theory and practices in early childhood education.
- Applications and $25 non-refundable application fee are due by March 30, 2014.
- Financial aid application and corresponding documents are due by March 30, 2014. See how to apply for financial aid.
- Interviews of parents or primary caregivers are required for admission and will be set by appointment for qualified applicants in April.
- Acceptance notification will be sent in April.
- Confirm placement - $250 non-refundable deposit is due by April 30, 2014.
Based on the applications and interviews, 36 students will be selected — 18 in each age group.
For more information, call (314) 646-4544.
Preschool Calendar 2014-2015
September 3 — Open House
September 8 or 9 — First day of school
October 30 or 31 — Fall parties
November 12 — Student showcase event
November 24-28 — No classes (Conferences & Thanksgiving Break)
December 18 or 19 — Winter Solstice celebration
December 22-31— No classes (Winter Break)
January 1-2 — No classes (Winter Break)
January 19 — No classes (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)
January 26 — Family Science Night
February 12-13 — Wild Valentine parties
February 16 — No classes (President's Day)
February 26-27— No classes (Conferences)
March 16-27 — Spring Break
April 1-2 — Spring Equinox celebration
April 3 — No classes
April 22 — Family Earth Day event
May 20 — Monday, Wednesday, Friday class end-of-year celebration
May 21-22 — Last day of classes