EDS Murray Nature School

EDS Murray Nature School is a pioneer experiential education program in the CSRA. Our hybrid model of student-led, inquiry-centered learning in nature paired with a careful balance of research-based language and emergent literacy and foundational math curriculum, produces an environment of learning where children grow their social and emotional awareness, gross and fine motor skills, sense of place and self, and confidence in core academics, all in the greatest classroom ever invented – the forest.

Our Forest School Teacher-certified faculty (www.forestteacher.org) are trained to create unique experiences in nature for both PreK and Kindergarten. The student’s natural curiosity leads them to discover and investigate scientific concepts like habitats, ecosystems, erosion, decomposition, amphibian and insect life cycles, seasonal changes, bird songs, and migration, through their natural explorative play. These discoveries are then reinforced through an emergent curriculum where the teachers come alongside to build on their initial learning through further discovery, journaling, and games.

Now Enrolling!

Two full-day class options: Prekindergarten and Kindergarten

Contact Karen Lilly, Director of Admissions, at klilly@edsaugusta.com or at 706-733-1192 x 212 to begin the application process and secure your child’s place today.

Our Indoor Space

A Yurt!

The perfect structure to escape the elements, but in keeping with the desire for students to be in a natural rustic setting.

Our Nature School Campus

An 8.5-acre forest grove adjoining our larger 30-acre Flowing Wells Campus, the nature school campus offers a beautiful space for students to explore, wonder, study, and play. Located near the Richmond and Columbia County line and only 15 minutes to downtown Augusta, this campus is right in the heart of our area’s greatest growth, and yet feels quiet and remote.

Our Lead Preschool Instructor

Wren Moody was selected in November of 2018 to be the first EDS Nature Preschool Teacher. Wren holds a Masters of Teaching degree from Augusta State University, as well as state certification in six areas, and has eleven years of teaching experience, including the last two years in the EDS Preschool.

She has eagerly prepared for the opening of our Nature Preschool program by obtaining two additional certifications, Nature-Based Teacher Certification from the Eastern Region of Nature and Forest Schools (ERAFANS), and a Certificate in Forest School Leadership from the Forest School Teacher Institute (Wauhatchee Forest School). Wren has also earned her certification in Wilderness First Aid.

Our Assistant Preschool Instructor

Ashley Williams is the assistant teacher for the EDS Nature Preschool.  A native Augustan with a degree in Biology, Ashley found her true passion for educating young, hands-on explorers through her experience in becoming a mother to two boys.  Ashley has found her niche in teaching in outdoor environments and loves being immersed in nature.



Ashley Williams

Our Lead Kindergarten Instructor & Director of Nature School

David Gardner is our lead teacher for Nature Kindergarten and is also the Director of EDS Murray Nature School. Originally from Great Britain, David graduated with honors from the University of Aberdeen with a degree in Zoology. He brings incredibly rich experience with him, including ten years as the Director of Environmental Education at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center on John’s Island, SC. Prior to coming to EDS, David has served in more administrative leadership roles where his co-workers describe him as, “An excellent administrator who had great impact on our program, [and who’s] a teacher at heart. One colleague said, “If my kids were that age, I’d love for him to be their teacher. In the field with students is when he shines.” 


Our Assistant Kindergarten Instructor

A valued member of our Nature Kindergarten team is Amy Sutherland Nesbit. Amy grew up in Augusta with her husband, Douglas Nesbit, both of whom graduated from EDS. She worked as a pediatric Occupational Therapist doing long term outpatient rehabilitation at St. Joseph where she found great joy in working with children to help them achieve their goals and succeed. Amy and Douglas have 3 children: Alison (EDS Class of 2013), Daniel (EDS Class of 2015), and E (EDS Class of 2018).


Our Curriculum

In our third year of operation, we offer two classes of Nature School – one for Prekindergarten and the other for Kindergarten students. Their daily experience is guided by at least two full-time faculty members for each class, all trained in Wilderness First Aid, amongst other certifications. The curriculum closely follows the curriculum in our PK and Kindergarten program on our Walton Way Campus to ensure that students will be well equipped to enter Kindergarten or First Grade classrooms after graduating from our Nature School.

By making the world their classroom, participating in child-directed activities, and utilizing natural boundaries, students will not only display academic strides, but also strengthen their fine and gross motor skills.

We hold our Nature School students to the same standards of rigor and achievement as our Walton Way Campus students and know they will find the same levels of success in Kindergarten and beyond.

Parent Testimonials

“I could not be happier with NPS.   I was dropping off my child late the other morning after an MD appt. and I could hear the other boys in the woods and suddenly they all came running up the hill, yelling and smiling; it was a wonderful thing to see, these little boys bursting out of the trees, so happy and full of life and energy.  I think NPS is truly heaven on earth for little ones.”

(Nature Preschool Parent)

“The Nature Kindergarten’s first week started in fantastic style, didn’t it? [Our child] comes home unbelievably dirty, tired, and happy with himself and the world. What more do you want?! That’s exactly how it should be, I think. So thank you very much!”

(Nature Kindergarten Parent)

Our History

EDS Murray Nature School is a new program for Augusta’s oldest and finest independent school. In 2019, we celebrated our 75th year of preschool education for Augusta families. EDS holds dual accreditations by AdvancedED and the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS).

Now Enrolling!

Contact Karen Lilly, Director of Admissions, at klilly@edsaugusta.com or 706-733-1192 ext. 212 to begin the application process and secure your child’s place today.


Frequently Asked Questions

Question Goes Here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus consectetur lorem erat. Donec vel lobortis erat, vitae efficitur dui. Sed mattis maximus lacinia. Integer nec felis elit. Aliquam quis quam porta, ultricies tellus eu, sodales velit.

Question Goes Here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus consectetur lorem erat. Donec vel lobortis erat, vitae efficitur dui. Sed mattis maximus lacinia. Integer nec felis elit. Aliquam quis quam porta, ultricies tellus eu, sodales velit.

Question Goes Here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus consectetur lorem erat. Donec vel lobortis erat, vitae efficitur dui. Sed mattis maximus lacinia. Integer nec felis elit. Aliquam quis quam porta, ultricies tellus eu, sodales velit.

Question Goes Here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus consectetur lorem erat. Donec vel lobortis erat, vitae efficitur dui. Sed mattis maximus lacinia. Integer nec felis elit. Aliquam quis quam porta, ultricies tellus eu, sodales velit.

Question Goes Here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus consectetur lorem erat. Donec vel lobortis erat, vitae efficitur dui. Sed mattis maximus lacinia. Integer nec felis elit. Aliquam quis quam porta, ultricies tellus eu, sodales velit.

Follow the link below to learn more about the Nature School Movement.