Seattle Parks Department Approves 9 Locations

By Andrew A. Jay

The big moment is here and we are thrilled to announce that Tiny Trees Preschool is officially partnering with Seattle Parks and Recreation to open 9 outdoor preschools in 2016 and 2017.  Today we received an official letter of intent (see below copy) from Parks superintendent Jesús Aguirre expressing his support for Tiny Trees and the idea of affordable, outdoor preschool in green spaces across Seattle. Here are three big highlights of of our partnership with Parks and what it means for you (and the awesome little people in your life):

Discovery Park03

Exploring the beaches of Discovery Park: Photo courtesy the Seattle Parks Foundation

1) 6 locations will open in September of 2016 and another 3 locations the following year. Each location will start with 32 students and additional classrooms may be added in the future if they are successful.

2) Each school will reflect the diversity of the neighborhood it is located in.  Parks and Tiny Trees are hoping to partner with the City’s Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) to provide tuition assistance for families at a number of locations. We are applying for DEEL’s Pathways program this fall with the hope of being a provider in the future for the Seattle Preschool Program. Specifically we will be applying for half the students at 3-4 locations to receive tuition assistance (free tuition for families who make <$75,000/yr). We will be applying for locations where the nearest elementary school has a high number of students receiving free and reduced lunch (an indicator of poverty). Two of Mayor Ed Murray’s successes so far have been the Parks initiative and the Seattle Preschool Program. With this partnership Tiny Trees becomes a marriage of these two great ideas.

3) The specific locations will be announced over the coming weeks. We are doing site visits with parks employees to each potential location and meeting with community and neighborhood groups to receive their input. We want to make sure each site has the bathrooms, shelter area and community support to be successful. Along with the specific locations we will also announce the specific program length, tuition price and after care providers for that school.

I encourage you to come hear Jesús Aguirre speak at the Tiny Trees Luncheon on November 6 about his vision for Seattle’s Parks and why he is excited to be partnering with Tiny Trees to bring outdoor preschool to scale across the city. This is an opportunity for you to appreciate his vision and to help Tiny Trees make it happen.

This moment represents a shift as Tiny Trees moves from sharing a vision to building a reality. It is a moment to pause and reflect on all of the people who have invested their time, energy and resources or those who have helped spread the word and share the Tiny Trees Story with others. It’s a time to be grateful. And it’s a time to strap on those rubber boots and get to the work of building the school we have been waiting for.

Seattle Parks LOI pg 1 10.22.15 Seattle Parks LOI pg 2 10.22.15

 

 

8 Comments
  • Mary DeJong
    Posted at 08:48h, 27 October

    Congratulations!! This news brings me great joy and hope tha possibly our youngest (now 1yo) might be able to partake in this fabulous partnership!.

    • Tiny Trees
      Posted at 12:56h, 27 October

      Thank you Mary! It is a remarkable moment and we are really excited to be working with Seattle Parks. We are lucky to have so many places of beauty in our city!

  • Jennifer Barnes
    Posted at 14:06h, 27 October

    WaHOOOO! Congratulations, Jay! You have achieved remarkable progress in a teeny tiny amount of time.

    • Tiny Trees
      Posted at 14:27h, 27 October

      Thanks Jennifer! So excited it is happening. Lots of credit goes to all of our early allies, totally couldn’t have done it with out people like you!

  • Jana Robbins
    Posted at 16:06h, 28 October

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful news! We are excited to have more outdoor learning experiences available to children. One question we have is what parks you will be using and how the spaces may be shared. At King Street co-op we use area parks twice a month for all day outdoor learning and we want to be sure there is good communication so we can hopefully help each other out and make space for one another as needed. Can you email us so we can start planning ahead now? We are excited to see more little ones in the woods!

    • Tiny Trees
      Posted at 16:11h, 28 October

      Hi Jana, That is great that you get out for all day outdoor learning. So cool! Yes, I would love to talk more and make a plan once we have our teachers hired so they can stay in regular communication with you. I will reach out then or you can email me at andrew@tinytrees.org. Thanks!

  • David Catlin
    Posted at 11:52h, 30 October

    Congratulations, Andrew! This is a big step forward! You’ve taken a leap of faith based on a really good idea, and there are a lot of us watching from a distance and wishing you well. This could be a model in many other places.

    • Tiny Trees
      Posted at 13:38h, 30 October

      Thank you David! I appreciate your encouragement and support, I think outdoor preschools are a great way to create an impactful, financially sustainable model for your nature centers.