Local Spotlight: Alley Pond Environmental Center

The Alley Pond Environmental Center (APEC) is an environmental educational center in Queens, NYC dedicated to preserving nature in an urban setting.  At APEC there are nature trails, salt marshes, forests and meadows.  APEC is open to the public and also offers weekly classes, a nursery school program, after school care, vacation programs, family and adult programs as well as teacher trainings.

APEC also hosts amazing homeschool classes for kids age 4 and up!  Ethan took a class here in the fall.  We drove from Brooklyn and depending on the NYC traffic, it was anywhere from a 35 minute to 2 hour commute.  Most often 35 minutes though!  When we arrived on the first day, we were greeted by this sign…

Alley Pond - Welcome Sign

I almost cried.  Never, have I ever, seen a sign like that anywhere in NYC!  It was so exciting.  And were we ever welcome!  Each week Ethan spent an hour with his class of other 4 and 5 year olds.  The teacher read books, sang songs and led the kids through hands-on experiments and games. Each week they learned about another animal that lives at Alley Pond and they got to meet a live animal right in the classroom!  At the end of each class, the kids took a hike with their teacher around the nature preserve.  It was a great class and I’d highly recommend it!  Ethan’s teacher was warm, friendly and knowledgeable (about children and nature).  He really liked her.  

Alley Pond - Class Time

While Ethan was in class, Lillian and I were free to explore APEC or spend time in one of the classrooms that was not in use.  She really loved this.  She got to play with the toys, look at the books and at the end we were careful to put everything back right where we found it.  There are also lots of live animals inside the class building at APEC that Lillian loved to visit.

Alley Pond - Exploring Animals

Definitely consider APEC if you are a homeschooler in NYC! 

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