Preschool at the Zoo

Program Description

Would your preschooler, age 3-4, dream of having the entire Zoo as their classroom?  Our full week, half day program can bring that dream to life! Following the Reggio Emilia approach, our class is centered on child-led, play based, and experience based learning, meaning that students learn through doing active things rather than learning through listening or watching.  The children decide what to learn about, while our educators guide them through thought-provoking questions to stimulate their interests, while also documenting their development in close communication with their families.


Our mission is to provide high quality, unique environment that fosters a love for learning and an appreciation for our natural world.

A primary component of the Buffalo Zoo preschool program is its approach to early childhood education, inspired by the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy.


There are still limited openings for 2020-2021 enrollment!  Contact us today to reserve your spot!

We have gone to great lengths to provide a safe and secure environment during these times by adhering to or surpassing all New York State early childhood education guidelines and reducing our student ratio to half capacity, limiting it to 8 students for the 2020-2021 school year.  This, and many other measures are in place to increase the safety and comfort level of students, parents, and instructors.

Contact us today to see if the preschool program is right for you and your little one(s).


Program Details

What:  Half day, Monday through Friday Preschool program

Who:  Children ages 3 – 4

Where:  At the Zoo

When:  September – June (Following the Erie 1 BOCES School calendar)

Time:  9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Cost:  Yearly tuition rate

How:  Contact us at 706-995-6140 for enrollment information and to schedule a tour


The Reggio Emilia approach is characterized by:

• child-centered learning.

• opportunities for children to explore their own interests.

• emphasis on play.

• focus on nature and the outdoors.

• extensive, meaningful projects.

• caring classroom community.


Zoo as a Classroom

The Buffalo Zoo is the perfect setting for a Reggio-inspired philosophy that provides:

• a 23+ acre indoor/outdoor classroom.

• endless possibilities for exploration and discovery.

• daily access to Zoo grounds.

• a new nature playground at the Delta Sonic Heritage Farm.



Anna Ileto is the Early Childhood Programs Specialist who manages and serves as the headteacher for the Buffalo Zoo Preschool.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Information Systems, Associates degree in Early Childhood Education, and a Master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum.  She has more than ten years of experience working with children, eight years of which were in learning centers inspired by the Reggio Emilia-inspired approach to education.  She advocates building a strong foundation in children’s early years to become lifelong learners and contributing members of the community.



Classroom Newsletter: 

September 2020

October 2020

November 2020

December 2020


Classroom Projects:

Spider Project

Registration Info

Children must be 3 or 4 years old as of September 1st of the current School Year.
Each class is limited to 14 students per school year to ensure a high instructor to student ratio.
Enrollment will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Click Sign Up to download the Preschool Registration Form

Sign Up PDF

Contact us at 716-995-6140 for more information