Seattle Forest Pre-School: Tiny Trees

Kids Outdoors

I wrote a blog post about the concept of Forest Kindergartens awhile back.  Soon Seattle, Washington, will have a similar school for pre-school kids . Tiny Trees plans to open six schools in 2016, with room for 32 kids in each school. Three more will open later.

Building a Partnership for Pre-School

PartnersThe Seattle Parks and Recreation Department recently indicated its support for using the City Parks for the schools, beginning with the six-park program in 2016 as a pilot effort to see how it works.  The Parks Department is now working out the details with Tiny Trees.  As a new program the Parks Department and Tiny Trees will need to clarify each other’s roles and responsibilities.  They also need to identify and satisfy regulatory and indemnity hurdles.  At this point the parties are partnering to find a way to make the preschools work, rather than the more typical role of a government bureaucracy that tries to find reasons why it can’t work.  This approach virtually assures that Tiny Trees will be able to use the parks.

Pre-School Without Walls

Two KidsTiny Trees will offer pre-schools without walls.  They will have no facility and all sessions will be outdoors in a neighborhood park regardless of the weather.  Besides offering all the benefits to the kids that I discussed in the earlier post, this will  greatly reduce the cost of pre-school for parents.  To keep the kids warm during the Seattle winter each child will get a free rain suit from Oakiwear. Since the curriculum is play based  the kids will be on the move a lot, keeping themselves warm.

The Curriculum

This is a real school – the kids don’t just play without learning. They might count pebbles instead of marbles, but they will still learn to count.  Tiny Trees will be using the HighScope Curriculum as recommended by the City of Seattle for its pre-school programs. In addition the school will be measuring and evaluating its quality and continually tracking the progress of each student.  Overall it should be as rigorous a program as any pre-school and leave the students in much better shape emotionally and physically than students in an indoor school.

More Information

This video offers a quick overview of the program and its benefits:

You can find more information via the following links:

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